Sltcljaic

VOL.

I.

ELEUSINIAN AND BACCHIC MYSTERIES.

THE

ELEUSINIAN
AND

BACCHIC MYSTERIES.
A DISSERTATION.
BY

THOMAS TAYLOR,
rOTLE,"

EDITED,

ETC., ETC.

WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES, EMENDATIONS, AND GLOSSARY,
BY

ALEXANDER WILDER,

M. D.

Ei/ rat? TEAETAI2 Ka$ap<retg riyovvTai. /cat Treptpfv aTroppTjTot? Spuifjifviav,
payrrjpta cat a-yi Krjaot, a
Kat XT;? TOV ffftov /aerovCTta? yvfjLi acrfJLaTa fiaiv.
T<ai>

PKOCI.US

WITH

85

:

Manutcript Commentary upon Plato,

ILLUSTRATIONS BY

1.

Alribiadet.

A. L.

BAWSON.

FOURTH EDITION.

*
NEW- YORK
8 WEST 28TH STREET.
:

J.

W. BOUTON,

1891.

Copyright,
J.

1891,

by

W. BOUTON.

THE DEVINNE PRESS.

TO MY OLD FRIEND

2&crnarti

<)uaritcl)

THE GREATEST BOOKSELLER OF ANCIENT
OR MODERN TIMES
tolttnte

la regpectfttllp

fcefcicateto

BY THE PUBLISHER

Bacchic Ceremonies.

Bacchus ami Nymphs.

Pluto, Proserpina, and Furies.

Eleusinian

Bacchante and Faun.

Priestesses.

Faun and Bacchus.

CONTENTS.
FABLE

is

LOVE S WORLD, POEM BY SCHILLER

INTRODUCTION
SECTION

I.,

SECTION

II.,

HYMN

.

.

9

11

ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES

BACCHIC MYSTERIES

TO MINERVA

31

187

224

APPENDIX

229

ORPHIC HYMNS

238

HYMN OF CLEANTHES

239

GLOSSARY

241

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

....

248

Kleusiiiian Mysteries.

Bacchus.
"

Tis not merely

The human being s pride that peoples space
With life and mystical predominance,
Since likewise for the stricken heart of Love

This visible nature, and this

narrow

Is all too

Lurks

in the

;

common world

yea, a deeper import

legend told

my

infant years

upon that truth, we live to learn,
For fable is Love s world, his home, his birthplace
Delightedly he dwells mong fays and talismans,
That

And

lies

spirits,

;

and delightedly believes

Divinities, being himself divine.

The

intelligible

The

fair

forms of ancient poets,

humanities of Old Religion,

The Power, the Beauty, and the Majesty,
That had their haunts

Or

in dale or

piny mountain,

by slow stream, or pebbly spring,
Or chasms or wat ry depths
all these have vanished.
forests

;

They live no longer in the faith of Reason,
But still the heart doth need a language; still
Doth the

old instinct bring

SCHILLER

:

back the old

names."

The Piccolomini, Act.
9

ii.

Scene

4.

Apollo ami Muses.

Prometheus.

INTRODUCTION TO THE THIRD EDITION.
offering to the public a

INTaylor

new

edition of Mr.

Thomas

admirable treatise upon the Eleusinian
and Bacchic Mysteries, it is proper to insert a few
s

words of explanation.
sented the spiritual
for

life

These observances once repre
and were considered

of Greece,

two thousand years and more the appointed means

for regeneration through an interior union with the

Divine Essence.
they may seem to
before

However absurd, or even offensive
us, we should therefore hesitate long

we venture

to lay desecrating

others have esteemed holy.

We

hands on what

can learn a valuable

regard from the Grecian and Roman
writers, who had learned to treat the popular religious
rites with mirth, but always considered the Eleusinian
lesson

in this

Mysteries with the deepest reverence.

ignorance which leads to profanation. Men
ridicule what they do not properly understand.
Alcibiades was drunk when he ventured to touch what his
It

is

11

Introduction.

12

countrymen deemed sacred. The undercurrent of this
world is set toward one goal; and inside of human
credulity

call it

human

a power almost

is

weakness,

infinite,

if

you please

a holy faith capable of

apprehending the supremest truths of all Existence.
The veriest dreams of life, pertaining as they do to
"

the minor mystery of

have in them more than

death,"

external fact can reach or explain

much

and Myth, how

;

proved to be a child of Earth, is also
received among men as the child of Heaven. The
ever

she

is

Cinder- Wench of the ashes will become the Cinderella
of the Palace, and be

wedded

to the

King s Son.

The instant that we attempt to analyze, the sensible,
palpable facts upon which so many try to build dis
appear beneath the surface, like a foundation laid upon
In the deepest reflections," says a dis
quicksand.
"

"

tinguished writer,
material basis

all

that

we

call external is

upon which our dreams are

only the

built

;

and

all
the sleep that surrounds life swallows up life,
of
but a dim wreck
matter, floating this way and that,

and forever evanishing from sight. Complete the anal
ysis, and we lose even the shadow of the external
Present, and only the Past

us as our sure inheritance.
tion,

But
in

a

and the Future are
This

is

the

first

left

initia

the vailing [muesis] of the eyes to the external.

by the synthesis of this Past and Future
living nature, we obtain a higher, an ideal

as epoptce,

Present, comprehending within itself
real for us within us or without.

all

This

that can be
is

the second

13

Introduction.
initiation in

new

which

is

of Idealism

is

unvailed to us the Present as a

own

birth from our

life.

Thus the great problem

symbolically solved in the

Eleusinia."

These were the most celebrated of

and were

orgies,

called,

all

*

the sacred

by way of eminence, The

Although exhibiting apparently the fea

Mysteries.

tures of an Eastern origin, they were evidently copied

from the

Egypt, an idea of which, more
be found in The Metamorphoses of

rites of Isis in

or less correct,

may

Apuleius and The Epicurean by Thomas Moore.

Every
them
was
act, rite,
symbolical
and the individual revealing them was put to death
without mercy. So also was any uninitiated person who

and person engaged

in

;

happened to be present. Persons of
sexes were initiated and neglect in
;

the case of Socrates,

they should be

was regarded

was required of

It

atheistical.

first

all

ages and both

this respect, as in

all

as impious

and

candidates that

admitted at the Mik-ra or Lesser

Mysteries of Agrae, by a process of fasting called puri
fication, after

which they were styled

mystce, or initi

A year later,

they might enter the higher degree.
In this they learned the aporrheta, or secret meaning of
the rites, and were thenceforth denominated ephori, or
ates.

epoptcB.

To some

only a very select

of the interior mysteries, however,

number obtained admission.

From

these were taken all the ministers of holy rites.

The

Hierophant who

and

presided was bound

required to devote his entire
*

to celibacy,

life to his

sacred

Atlantic Monthly, vol. iv. September, 1859.

office.

14

Introduction.

He had

three assistants,

and the minister

crier,

basileus or king,

curators, elected

the torch-bearer, the l&erux or

at the altar.

There were also a

who was an archon
by

suff rage,

and ten

of Athens, four

to offer sacrifices.

The sacred Orgies were celebrated on every fifth
year and began on the 15th of the month Boedromiari
j

The

or September.

first

day was styled the agurmos or

assembly, because the worshipers then convened. The
second was the day of purification, called also alade

from the proclamation
To the sea, initiated
ones!"
The third day was the day of sacrifices; for
which purpose were offered a mullet and barley from
"

mystai,

:

a field in Eleusis.

The

bidden to taste of either
(the

persons were for
the offering was for Achtheia

officiating

sorrowing one, Demeter) alone.

On

the fourth

day was a solemn procession. The kalathos or sacred
basket was borne, followed by women, cistce or chests
in which were sesamum, carded wool, salt, pomegran
also thyrsi, a serpent,

ates, poppies,

cakes, etc.

The

fifth

boughs of ivy,
was
denominated
the day of
day

In the evening were torchlight processions
and much tumult.

torches.

The

sixth

was a great

lacchus, the son of

The statue of
Zeus and Demeter, was brought
occasion.

from Athens, by the lacchogoroi, all crowned with
myrtle. In the way was heard only an uproar of sing
ing and the beating of brazen kettles, as the votaries
danced and ran along. The image was borne through
"

the sacred Gate, along the sacred way, halting

by the

17

Introduction.
sacred fig-tree

(all

mark

sacred,

you, from Eleusinian

associations), where the procession rests, and then
moves on to the bridge over the Cephissus, where again
it rests,

and where the expression of the wildest

the midst of her grief, smiled at the levity of
the palace of Celeus.

in

trance

we

of barley,

and

On

;

as

were a

it

Divine Physician,

the

to the victor is given a

The eighth

the goddess.

who

lambe

mystical en
the seventh day games

Through

enter Eleusis.

are celebrated

grief

even as Demeter, in

gives place to the trifling farce,

gift direct

measure

from the hand of

sacred to ^Esculapius, the
heals all diseases; and in the
is

evening
performed the initiatory ritual.
Let us enter the mystic temple and be initiated,
though it must be supposed that, a year ago, we were
is

"

initiated into the Lesser Mysteries at Agra3.

have beqn mystce
(seers);

eyes to

in

(vailed),

Crowned with

before

myrtle,

we can become epoptce
we must have shut our

before

plain English,

all else

We must

we can behold the mysteries.
we enter with the other initiates

into the vestibule of the temple,

blind as yet, but the

Hierophant within will soon open our eyes.
"But
for here we must do nothing rashly,
first,
first we must wash in this holy water; for it is with
pure hands and a pure heart that we are bidden
enter the most sacred enclosure
sekos}.
*

[(umovixos

tfijxos,

to-

mustilios

Then, led into the presence of the Hierophant,*

In the Oriental countries the designation IflS Peter (an in

terpreter), appears to

have been the

title

of this personage

;

and

Introduction.

18

he reads to us, from a book of stone [tfSTp&jjuux, petroma],
things which we must not divulge on pain of death.
Let it suffice that they fit the place and the occasion

;

and though you might laugh at them, if they were
spoken outside, still you seem very far from that mood
now, as you hear the words of the old man (for old he
he always was), and look upon the revealed symbols.

And

very

Demeter

indeed, are

far,

seals,

you from

ridicule,

when

by her own peculiar utterance and sig
and cloud piled

vivid coruscations of light,

nals,

by

upon

cloud, all that

we have seen and heard from her

sacred priest; and then, finally, the light of a serene
wonder fills the temple, and we see the pure fields of
then,
Elysium, and hear the chorus of the Blessed;
not merely by external seeming or philosophic inter
pretation, but in real fact, does the Hierophant become

the Creator

things; the

[<5r]|xoupyo,

Sun

is

demiourgos] and revealer

but his torch-bearer, the

-of all

Moon

his

Hermes his mystic herald*
word has been uttered
is consummated, and we are

attendant at the altar, and
kerux].

[xyjpuf,
*

Conx

But the

Om

The

pax?

epoptce forever

rite

final

"

!

Those who are curious

to

know

the

myth on which

the petroma consisted, notably enough, of two tablets of stone.

There

is

in these facts

stances of the Mosaic
the claim of the

Pope

some reminder

Law which was

PORPHYRY.

so preserved

;

and also of

to be the successor of Peter, the hierophant

or interpreter of the Christian religion.
*

of the peculiar circum

19

Introduction.
the

"

mystical

drama

"

of the Eleusinia

is

founded

will

find it in any Classical Dictionary, as well as in these
It is only pertinent here to give some ida of
pages.
the meaning. That it was regarded as profound is

evident from the peculiar

rites,

posed on every initiated person.
Socrates

to observe them.

and the obligations im
It was a reproach not

was accused

of atheism, or

disrespect to the gods, for having never been initiated.*
Any person accidentally guilty of homicide, or of any
crime, or convicted of witchcraft,
secret doctrines,

it is

The

was excluded.

supposed, were the same as are

expressed in the celebrated
philosopher Isocrates thus

Hymn
bears

The

of Cleanthes.
"

testimony

:

She

most excel
[Demeter] gave us two gifts that are the
and that
like
beasts
live
not
we
that
may
fruits,

lent

;

;

those

initiation

who have

part in which have sweeter

of
hope, both as regards the close

life

and for

all

In like manner, Pindar
Happy
he who has beheld them, and descends into the Under
world: he knows the end, he knows the origin of
The Bacchic Orgies were said to have been instituted,

eternity

also declares

."

"

:

is

life."

*

Ancient Symbol-Worship, page 12, note. "Socrates was not
after drinking the hemloek, he addressed Crito:

initiated, yet

We owe a cock to ^Esculapius. This was the peculiar
made by initiates (now called kerknophori) on the eve of
*

day,

and he thus symbolically asserted that he was about

ceive the great
"

See, also,
vol.

offering

the last

ii.

p. 308

to re

apocalypse."

Progress of Religious Ideas," by LYDIA MARIA CHILD,
Discourses on the Worship of Prtopus? by
and
"

;

RICHARD PAYNE KNIGHT.

Introduction.

20
or

more probably reformed by Orpheus, a mythical

flourished in Thrace.*
personage, supposed to have
themselves to the
dedicated
The Orphic associations

worship of Bacchus, in which they hoped to find the
after the worthy and
gratification of an ardent longing
elevating influences of a religious life. The worshipers
did not indulge in unrestrained pleasure and frantic
enthusiasm, but rather aimed at an ascetic purity of
*

EURIPIDES:

the hidden

PLATO
but the

Rliaesus.

Protagoras.

The

men who proposed

attached to

showed forth the

rites

of

Mysteries."
"

:

"Orpheus

it,

it

art of a sophist or sage is ancient,

in ancient times, fearing the

sought to conceal

it,

and vailed

it

the garb of poetry, as Homer, Hesiod, and Simonides

odium

some under

over,
:

and others

under that of the Mysteries and prophetic manias, such as Orpheus,
Musseus, and their followers."

Herodotus takes a different view
of Amytheon,"

he says,

"

ii.

49.

"

Melampus, the son

introduced into Greece the

name

of

Dionysus (Bacchus), the ceremonial of his worship, and the pro
cession of the phallus.

He

did not, however, so completely ap

prehend the whole doctrine as to
entirely

:

be able to communicate

it

but various sages, since his time, have carried out his

teaching to greater perfection.

Still it is

certain that

Melampus

introduced the phallus, and that the Greeks learnt from him the
ceremonies which they now practice. I therefore maintain that

Melampus, who was a sage, and had acquired the art of divina
haying become acquainted with ,the worship of Dionysus

tion,

through knowledge derived from Egypt, introduced it into Greece,
with a few slight changes, at the same time that he brought in

can by no means allow that it is by
mere coincidence that the Bacchic ceremonies in Greece are so
various other practices.

nearly the same as the

For

I

Egyptian."

Etruscan Kleusiuiaii Ceremonies.

Introduction.
and manners.

The worship

23

of Dionysus

was the

center of their ideas, and the starting-point of

all their

life

speculations

believed that

upon the world and human nature.

human

They

souls were confined in the

in a prison, a condition

body as
which was denominated genesis

or generation; from which Dionysus would liberate
them. Their sufferings, the stages by which they

passed to a higher form of existence, their katharsis
or purification, and their enlightenment constituted the

themes of the Orphic writers. All this was represented
which constituted the groundwork of the

in the legend

mystical

rites.

Dionysus-Zagreus was the son of Zeus,

whom

he had

form of a dragon or serpent, upon the
person of Kore or Persephoneia, considered by some
to have been identical with Ceres or Demeter, and by
begotten in the

others to have been her daughter.

The former idea

is

more probably the more correct. Ceres or Demeter
was called Kore at Cnidos. She is called Phersephatta
in a fragment by Psellus, and is also styled a Fury.
The divine

an avatar or incarnation of Zeus, was
denominated Zagreus, or Chakra (Sanscrit) as being
child,

destined to universal dominion.
of

Hera*

But

at the instigation

the Titans conspired to murder him.

Ac-

*

Hera, generally regarded as the Greek title of Juno, is not the
definite name of any goddess, but was used by ancient writers as

domina or lady, and appears to be
applied to Ceres or Demeter, and other

a designation only.

It signifies

of Sanscrit origin.

It is

divinities.

24

Introduction.

cordingly, one day while he

was contemplating a mir

upon him, disguised under a coating of
Athena, how
plaster, and tore him into seven parts.
which
was
his
swallowed
from
them
rescued
heart,
ever,

ror,* they set

by Zeus, and so returned

into the paternal substance,

generated anew. He was thus destined to be
again born, to succeed to universal rule, establish the

to be

and

reign of happiness,

release

all

souls

from the

dominion of death.

The hypothesis of Mr. Taylor is the same as was
maintained by the philosopher Porphyry, that the
Mysteries constitute an illustration of the Platonic
*

The mirror was a part

the same as

symbolism of the Thesmophoria,
Atmu, the Hidden One, evidently

of the

and was used in the search

for

Tammuz, Adonis, and Atys.

See Exodus xxxviii. 8

;

But despite the assertion of
Herodotus and others that the Bacchic Mysteries were in reality
I

Samuel

ii.

22

;

and Ezekiel

viii. 14.

Egyptian, there exists strong probability that they came originally

from India, and were Sivaic or Buddhistical. Core-Persephoneia
was but the goddess Parasu-pani or Bhavani, the patroness of the
Thugs, called also Goree

;

and Zagreus

is

from

Cholera, a country

extending from ocean to ocean. If this is a Turanian or Tartar
Horns" as the crescent worn
Story, we can easily recognize the
"

by lama-priests and translating god-names as merely sacerdotal
designations, assume the whole legend to be based on a tale of
Lama Succession and transmigration. The Titans would then be
:

the Daityas of India,

ern tribes

;

and the

priest of Nysa, or

who were opposed
title

to the faith of the north

Dionysus but signify the god or chiefThe whole story of Orpheus, the

Mount Meru.

institutor or rather the reformer of the Bacchic rites, has a

ring

all

through.

Hindu

Introduction.
philosophy.

At first sight, this may be hard to believe
know that no pageant could hold place so
;

but we must

long, without an
asserts that

"

under-meaning.

Indeed, Herodotus

the rites called Orphic and Bacchic are in

Egyptian and

reality

25

Pythagorean."*

The

influence of

the doctrines of Pythagoras upon the Platonic system
is

generally acknowledged.

It

is

only important in

that case to understand the great philosopher correctly ;
and we have a key to the doctrines and symbolism of
the Mysteries.

The
Teletce

first

initiations

of the Eleusinia were called

or terminations, as denoting that the imperfect

and rudimentary period of generated life was ended
and purged off and the candidate was denominated a
;

The Greater
Mysteries completed the work; the candidate was more
fully instructed and disciplined, becoming an epopta
mysta, a vailed or

or seer.

liberated

He was now

arcane principles of

person.

regarded as having received the
This was also the end sought

life.

The soul was believed

by philosophy.

posite nature, linked

to be of

com

on the one side to the eternal

world, emanating from God, and so partaking of Di
On the other hand, it was also allied to the
vinity.

phenomenal or external world, and so liable
subjected to passion, lust, and the bondage of

to be
evils.

denominated generation ; and is sup
posed to be a kind of death to the higher form of life.
Evil is inherent in this condition and the soul dwells
This condition

is

;

*

HERODOTUS:

ii.

81.

26

Introduction.

in the

body

.

as in a prison or a grave.

In this state, and

previous to the discipline of education

and the mysti

cal initiation, the rational or intellectual element, which

Paul denominates the
life

spiritual, is asleep.

longings for a higher and nobler form of
are on

affinities

high.

The object

says Homer.

"All

The
Yet

a dream rather than a reality.

is

men yearn

life,

earth-

has

it

and

after

its

God,"

of Plato is to present to us the

fact that there are in the soul certain ideas or princi

innate and connatural,

ples,

which are not derived

from without, but are anterior to all experience, and
are developed and brought to view, but not produced
by experience. These ideas are the most vital of all
truths,

make

to

is

and the purpose of instruction and
individual

the

conscious

willing to be led and inspired
is

purified

truth,

of

by them.

discipline

them and

The

soul

separated from

or

expiations,

sufferings,

evils by knowledge,
and prayers. Our life

a discipline and preparation for another state of
being and resemblance to God is the highest motive

is

;

of action.*
*

Many

of the early Christian writers

the Eclectic or Platonic doctrines.

almost identical.

One

were deeply imbued with
of speech were

The very forms

of the four Gospels, bearing the title

"

ac

was the evident product of a Platonist, and
cording
hardly seems in a considerable degree Jewish or historical. The
to

John,"

epistles ascribed to
tic

Paul evince a great familiarity with the Eclec

philosophy and the peculiar symbolism of the Mysteries, as

well

as with

the

Mithraic

notions

that had penetrated and

permeated the religious ideas of the western countries.

27

Introduction,

Proclns does not hesitate to identify the theological
doctrines

with the mystical dogmas of the Orphic
What Orpheus delivered in hidden
He says
"

:

system.

Pythagoras learned when he was initiated
into the Orphic Mysteries; and Plato next received a
knowledge of them from the Orphean and
allegories,

perfect

Pythagorean writings."
Mr. Taylor s peculiar style has been the subject of
are not accepted
repeated criticism and his translations
;

by

Yet they have met with favor at
capable of profound and recondite

classical scholars.

the hands of

men

endowed
thinking and it must be conceded that he was
that of an intuitive per
with a superior qualification,
5

meaning of the subjects which
he considered. Others may have known more Greek,
but he knew more Plato. He devoted his time and
ception of the interior

means for the elucidation and dissemination of the doc
trines of the divine philosopher and has rendered into
not only his writings, but also the works of
;

English

other authors,

who

affected the teachings of the great

at the hand of
master, that have escaped destruction
Moslem and Christian bigots. For this labor we can

not be too grateful.

The present

treatise has all the peculiarities of style

which characterize the translations. The principal diffi
a labor
culties of these we have endeavored to obviate
which

will,

we

trust,

be not unacceptable to readers.

The book has been for some time out of print; and no
later writer

has endeavored to replace

it.

There are

28

Introduction.

many who

cherish a regard, almost amounting to

still

we hope that this repro
duction of his admirable explanation of the nature and

veneration, for the author; and

object of the Mysteries will prove to

them a welcome

an increasing interest in philo
undertaking.
other
and
sophical, mystical,
antique literature, which
will, we believe, render our labor of some value to a
There

class of readers

ship

is

whose sympathy, good-will, and fellow
possess and cherish. If we have

we would gladly

added to their enjoyment, we shall be doubly gratified.
A. W.

Vemts

aiul

Proserpina in Hades.

Rape

of Proserpina.

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE AUTHOR S EDITION.
AS

there

--^-

is

nothing more celebrated than the Mys-

teries of the ancients, so there is

which has hitherto been

less solidly

perhaps nothing

known.

Of the

truth of this observation, the liberal reader will, I per

suade myself, be fully convinced, from an attentive
perusal of the following sheets; in which the secret

meaning of the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries is un
folded, from authority the most respectable, and from
a philosophy of

all

others the most venerable and

The authority, indeed, is principally derived
from manuscript writings, which are, of course, in the
august.

possession of but a few; but

its

respectability

is

no

more lessened by its concealment, than the value of a
diamond when secluded from the light. And as to the
philosophy,
veloped,

ever
it

its

will

by whose

it is

assistance these Mysteries are de

coeval with the universe itself

continuity

;

and,

may be broken by opposing

make its appearance

how

systems,

at different periods of time, as

long as the sun himself shall continue to illuminate the
29

30

Advertisement.
and may hereafter, be violently as

world.

It has, indeed,

saulted

by delusive opinions

;

just as imbecile as that of the

but the opposition will be

waves of the sea against a

temple built on a rock, which majestically pours them
back,
Broken and vanquish d, foaming

Pallas,

Venus, and

to the main.

Diaiia.

THE ELEUSINIAN AND BACCHIC

Dionysus as God of the Sun.

SECTION

WARBURTON,

DR.Legation

.

of

I.

in

his

Moses, has ingeniously

the

sixth

book

^Eneid represents

some

of

that

proved,

exhibitions

of

the

Divine

of

the

Eleusinian

Virgil

s

dramatic
Mysteries;

at the same time, has utterly failed
in attempting to unfold their latent mean

but,

ing,

and obscure though important end.

however, of the Pla
tonic philosophy, I have been enabled to

By

the

correct

wisdom

assistance,

his
*

errors,

and

of antiquity

to

vindicate

the

from his aspersions

*

The profounder esoteric doctrines of the ancients were
denominated icisdo-m, and afterward philosophy, and also the gnosis
or knowledge.

They related

to the

31

human

soul, its divine parent-

Eleusmian and

32

by a

account

genuine
are

this

sublime

which the following obser

institution; of

vations

of

as a comprehensive

designed

view.

In the

place, then, I shall present

first

two superior

the reader with

authorities,

who

perfectly demonstrate that a part

the

shows

consisted

dramas)

(or

in

of

a

representation of the infernal regions; au
thorities which, though of the last conse

quence, were

unknown

The

himself.

person than

of

first

immortal

the

fragment

preserved

drinus

AXXa

"

:

(jLoar/jpwov

i. 6.

in

a

%ai IltvSapoc ^spi TCOV sv EXso-

Xsycov

siricpspei.

3s

ot5sv

:

OXptoc,

uftoO-ovta,
Scoc

But Pindar, speaking

Mysteries, says

Pindar,

by Clemens Alexan-

sec

TsXsotav,
a

Warburton
these is no less a
to Dr.

Blessed

So-cov

ocosv
ap/av."*

of the Eleusinian

is

he who, having

age, its supposed degradation

from

connected with

or the physical world, its

"

generation

progress and restoration to

posed to be transmigrations,
*

"

God by
etc.

its

oatts

high estate by becoming

onward

regenerations, popularly sup

A.

W.

Stromata, book

iii.

f

Bacchic Mysteries.

33

seen those common concerns in the under
world, knows both the end of life and its
divine origin from Jupiter." The other of
these is from Proclus in his Commentary

on Plato

who, speaking concern
ing the sacerdotal and symbolical mythol
ogy, observes, that from this mythology
s Politicals,

Plato himself establishes
peculiar doctrines,

with

venerates,

a

many

of his

own

since in the Phcedo he

"

becoming

silence,

the

assertion delivered in the arcane discourses,
that men are placed in the body as in a

according
ferent

and

testifies,

the mystic ceremonies,

the dif

and

unpuri-

secured by a

prison,

to

allotments

guard,

of purified

fied souls in Hades, their several conditions,

and

the

places where they were

according

to

is

fidl of

descending

treated

ways,

a symbolical repre

dream, and of a descrip

sentation, as in a
ivhich

;

traditionary institutions; every

part of which
tion

from the peculiar
and this was shown

three-forked path

of

of the

the

and
of Dio

ascending

tragedies

nysus (Bacchus or Zagreus), the crimes of
the

Titans,

the

three

ways

in

Hades, and

Eleusinian and

34
the

wandering

kind."

61

5s

"ArjXoi

OWCppOTQTOlC

everything

of

sv

ASyO(J.SVOV,

av&payjroi,

SVTIVI

similar
TS

TOV

>cu8(ovi

COC

CfpOOpCjl

sv

SGJJISV

as^ov,

TrpsirooaT]

TYJ

aty-fl

of a

(lege xai x
TCOV

dca^opcov

XTJ^

axafl-aptoo

ioSooc

ta

a^ro

t(ov),

TWV

ooauov

rca cpty.tov

TCOV

xcct

^-SGJJKOV

(lege

ocac

Ts%|iatpo[JLvoc.

a

diravia
tcov

T

iuapa

avo8cov

rcov

Xyo(j.va)v

xat

?

TCOV

sv

ojSoo

TpioScov,

xat TCOV TOCOOKOV

now pro
ceed to prove that the dramatic spectacles of
the Lesser Mysteries f were designed by the
ancient theologists, their founders, to signify
Having premised thus much,

I

occultly the condition of the unpurified soul
*

Commentary on

the

Statesman of Plato, page 374.

The Lesser Mysteries were celebrated at Agree and the per
sons there initiated were denominated -Mysttc. Only such could
t

be received at the sacred

;

rites at Eleusis.

Bacchic Mysteries.

35

invested with an earthly body, and envel
oped in a material and physical nature or,
;

in other words, to signify that such a soul in
the present life might be said to die, as far
as

possible for a soul to die,

it is

and that

on the dissolution of the present body, while
in this state of impurity, it would experience
a death still more permanent and profound.
That the soul, indeed, till purified by phi
losophy,* suffers death through its union with
the body was obvious to the philologist

Macrobius, who, not penetrating the secret
meaning of the ancients, concluded from

hence that they signified nothing more than
the present body, by their descriptions of
the infernal abodes. But this is manifestly

absurd

;

since

it is

universally agreed, that

the ancient theological poets and philos
ophers inculcated the doctrine of a future

all

state

of rewards

most

full

and punishments

and decisive terms;

in the

at the

same

time occultly intimating that the death of
the soul was nothing more than a profound
union with the ruinous bonds of the body.
*

Philosophy here relates to discipline of the

life.

Eleusinian and

36
Indeed,

these wise

if

men

believed in

a

future state of retribution, and at the same
time considered a connection with the body
as death of the soul, it necessarily follows,
that the soul s punishment and existence
hereafter are nothing more than a continu
ation of its state at present, and a transmi

were, from sleep to sleep, and
from dream to dream. But let us attend
gration, as

it

men

to the assertions of these divine

cerning the soul

And

nature.

con

union with a material

s

to begin with the obscure

and

profound Heracleitus, speaking of souls
unembodied: "We live their death, and we
die

their

life."

Tcih 7jyva|iv

Ss

Z(o[isv

TOV

TOV

sxsivcov

xscvo>v

J3:ov.

ftava-cov,

And Em-

pedocles, deprecating the condition termed
u
generation," beautifully says of her:
The aspect changing with destruction dread.
She makes the living pass into the dead.
.

Ex

And

vsxpa

st

again, lamenting his connection with

this corporeal world,

he pathetically exclaims

:

37

Bacchic Mysteries.
For

this I weep, for this indulge ray woe,

That

e er

my

KXauaa

TE xai xcuxuaa,

towv

aoovqfoa

ycopov.

known, considered the
the sepulchre of the soul, and in
it is

Plato, too,

body as

soul such novel realms should know.

well

the Cratylus concurs with the doctrine of
Orpheus, that the soul is punished through
This was likewise the
its union with body.
Phiopinion of the celebrated Pythagorean,
the following relolaus, as is evident from

markable passage in the Doric dialect, pre
served by Clemens Alexandrinus in Stromat.

book

*ai

3s

"

iii.

MapiupsovTa

01

rca/.

a
"

sv a(o[j-ati

TOIXTCI)

theologists

and

-usfta^at."

;

|xavTsi?

The ancient

manleis

the

body as if for the
and so is buried in

sake of punishment f
body as in a sepulchre."
Greek

c.

*
priests also testify that

soul is united with the

*

.

And,

lastly,

more properly prophets, those

Pyfilled

by the prophetic mania or entheasm.
The soul is yoked to the body as if by way
t More correctly
even to
of punishment," as culprits were fastened to others or
"

corpses.

See PauVs Epistle

to the

Romans,

vii, 25.

38

Eleusinian and

thagoras himself confirms the above senti

ments,

when he

beautifully observes, accord

Clemens in the same book,
whatever we see when awake is death
when asleep, a dream." flavo^c saw,
ing to

But that the mysteries

occultly

"

;

that

and

signi

sublime truth, that the soul by
being merged in matter resides among the
dead both here and hereafter, though it fol
fied

this

lows by a necessary sequence from the preced
ing observations, yet it is indisputably con
firmed, by the testimony of the great and
truly divine Plotinus, in Ennead I., book viii.
When the soul," says he, "has descended into

generation (from its first divine condition)
she partakes of evil, and is carried a
great
way into a state the opposite of her
first

purity

and

integrity,

to

~be

entirely

merged in which, is nothing more than to
And again, soon after
fall into dark mire."
:

"

The

soul therefore dies as

sible for the soul to die
is,

:

much

and

as

it is

pos

the death to her

while baptized or immersed in the
present

39

Bacchic Mysteries.

and

body, to descend into matter,*
subjected
to

there

lie

its

and

it ;

~by

till

thence

after departing

shall

it

and

arise

turn

abhorrent

the

away from

face

be ivholly

filth.

meant by the falling asleep
Hades, of those who have come there" \

This
in
*

what

is

Greek

matter supposed to contain

oXfj,

negative of

is

order,

life,

the principles the

all

and goodness.

tThis passage doubtless alludes to the ancient and beautiful

and Psyche,

story of Cupid
in

Hades

beauty

:

and

;

in

which Psyche

is

said to fall asleep

through rashly attempting to behold corporeal

this

of Plotinus will enable the profound

and the observation

and contemplative reader to unfold the greater part
contained in this elegant fable.

teries

book of

Plato, in the seventh

But,

of the

mys

prior to Plotinus,

his Republic, asserts that such as

are unable in the present life to apprehend the idea of the good,

descend to Hades after death, and

will

abodes.

f

O^ av

aY a

too

V

ltov, fts

/s

V, ev

;

^"

J

aXX

cpYjGci?
si

ei5u>Xoo

TCY]

xa:

TOV

Y 50 ^ *

e .Ssvai

vov

(B

1

s-waTaoapfl-avsiv

;

-^

5

i.

e.

u

.

XOY<O

TIVO^

.ov

coro

He who

(

ocXXu>v

u>j7ip

ooo:

v.rxt

ota~opOY]ta ., ODTS aot
syovta,
1

etpaTCTSTa .,

icpotspov
is

dark

its

Ttov

ev

y.a .

ovttpOKoXoo /ta,

aoo j

asleep in

XOY>,

aXXa

TOV OUT(O^

fall

TO>

wsav,

v.ata oo^av

Tiaoi TOUTOIC aitttoT . T(O

ouosv
ouosv

o^op .aasO-a

syg

\vf\

GOT*

aXXo aY a

^^
v.a:

uTtvioiovTa,

acpixo/xsvov

icp

.v

ttXsto?

not able, by the exercise

of his reason, to define the idea of the good, separating

it

from

all

other objects, and piercing, as in a battle, through every kind
of

argument

;

endeavoring to confute, not according to opinion,

but according to essence, and proceeding through
he
lectical energies with an unshaken reason;

all

these dia

who can not

Bacchic Mysteries.

40
Ftvo[AV(p 3s

sv

TCavtairaatv
o

svfta

aotou.

[xetoXiqtJjic

TJ

T(p

i

avo{xoiOT;^

T7]
C

aur/jv

poppopov
ouv,

%ac

6

ftavaTos

t

aong,
sv

pe(3oMruia{isv)Q,

aurrjc.

toy

poppopoo.

accomplish

good

itself,

xatadovat,

esXftouoir)

xai

arpsXiQ

Kai TODTO

jrco

eat*

TO

sv

Here the

Sap^siv.

assert that such a one,
of reality,

apprehends

of opinion than of science

sunk in

sleep,

;

when he apprehends

it

rather through the

that in the present

and conversant with the delusion

and that before he
to

sati

TCO

would you not say, that he neither knows the
nor anything which is properly denominated good?

any certain image
is

sv

STI

this,

And would you not
medium

<>o/7]

Kac

sTcixaia

sX^ovTot

av

>

xctt

6Xrj

avaSpajJLTg
/,

ya

Ftrpveiai

is

of

life

he

dreams;

roused to a vigilant state he will descend

Hades, and be overwhelmed with a sleep perfectly profound."
not
Henry Davis translates this passage more critically:
"Is

the case the

same with reference

logically define

it,

to the

good

abstracting the idea of

Whoever can not

?

tJte

good from

all

and taking, as in a fight, one opposing argument after
another, and can not proceed with unfailing proofs, eager to rest

others,

ground of opinion, but of true being, such a
one knows nothing of the good itself, nor of any good whatever
and should he have attained to any knowledge of tlte good, we

his case, not -on the

;

must say that he has attained
(eTC .aTYjpivj)

life

;

;

that he

and before he

is
is

it

by opinion, not by science

sleeping and dreaming

away his present
roused will descend to Hades, and there

be profoundly and perfectly laid

asleep."

vii.

14.

4S

Bacchic Mysteries.
reader

may

observe that the obscure doc

trine of the Mysteries

mentioned by Plato

in the Phcedo, that the unpurified soul in a
future state lies immerged in mire, is beauti

time that our
fully explained; at the same
assertion concerning their secret meaning
not less substantially confirmed.* ^In a
similar manner the same divine philosopher,

is

book on the Beautiful, Ennead, L, book
explains the fable of Narcissus as an em

in his
vi.,

blem of one who rushes to the contempla
tion of sensible (phenomenal) forms as if
they were perfect realities, when at the
same time they are nothing more than like
beautiful images appearing in water, falla
as Nar
cious and vain. / Hence," says he,
"

"

cissus,

by catching

at the shadow,

plunged

himself in the stream and disappeared, so

he

who

captivated by beautiful bodies,

is

and does not depart from
is
*

their embrace,

with
precipitated, not with his body, but
Phceclo, 38.

"

Those who instituted the Mysteries

for us

ap

unpear to have intimated that whoever shall arrive in Hades
there
who
arrives
he
but
mud
in
lie
shall
purified and not initiated
For there are
purified and initiated shall dwell with the gods.
;

many

bearers of the

wand

or thyrsus, but

few who are

inspired."

44

Eleusinian and
soul, into a

nant to

darkness profound and repug

intellect (the higher soul),*

through

which, remaining blind both here and in
Hades, he associates with shadows." Tov
SYJ

Tporcov

6

xaXcov

7(ov

S/OJJLSVOC

TY

i

Ss
v>

sv

q:o j

|JiV(ov,

%ai

v-

And what

a^jvsaiL

still

farther confirms our exposition is that mat
ter was considered by the Egyptians as a
certain

mire or mud.
"

says Simplicius,

"The

Egyptians,"

called matter,

which they

symbolically denominated water, the dregs
or sediment of the first life; matter being,
as

it

were, a certain mire or mud.f
TYJV

yov, otov cXov
*
Intellect,

Greek

It is substantially

the

New
Mr.

in

^c, rcpoynjc

Tiva
vooc,

ooaav.

wow,

is

Taylor

t

translation of the

Physics of Aristotle.

all

the higher faculty, of the mind.

the same as the pneuma, or

pretty safely read as spiritual,
tian cultus.

68a>p

So that from

Testament; and hence the term
s

r^v

C>^c,

Ato

by

spirit,

treated of in

"intellectual,"

Platonic

writers,

as used

may be

those familiar with the Chris

A.

W.

45

Bacchic Mysteries.

we may

that has been said

safely conclude

with Fichms, whose words are as express to
our purpose as possible.
Lastly," says he,
"

the opinion of the
ancient theologists, on the state of the soul
after death, in a few words they considered,
"that

I

may comprehend

:

as

we have

as

the

were

elsewhere asserted, things divine

only realities,
only

the

and

images

Hence they

that

and

asserted

all

others

shadows

of

that

prudent
men, who earnestly employed themselves in
divine concerns, were above all others in a
tmth.

But that imprudent [/. e.
without foresight] men, who pursued objects

vigilant state.

of a different nature, being laid asleep, as it
were, were only engaged in the delusions

they happened to
die in this sleep, before they were roused,
they would be afflicted with similar and

of dreams;

still

And

more dazzling
that as he

realities,

est

and that

if

visions in a future state.

who

in this

life

pursued

would, after death, enjoy the high

truth,

so he

who pursued

deceptions

would hereafter be tormented with fallacies
and delusions in the extreme as the one
:

46

Eleusinian and

would be delighted with true objects of
enjoyment, so the other would be tor
mented with delusive semblances of reali
Denique ut priscorum theologorum

ty."

sententiam de

animae post mortem

statu

paucis comprehend am sola clivina (ut alias
diximus) arbitrantur res veras existere, re:

hqua

esse

rerum verarum imagines atque

umbras.

Ideo prudentes homines, qui divinis incumbunt, pra3 ceteris vigilare.
Imprudentes autem, qui sectantur alia, insomniis

omnino quasi dormientes Hindi, ac si in
hoc somno priusquam expergefacti fuerint
moriantur similibus post discessum et
oribus visionibus angi.

Et

eum qui
mortem summa
sicut

in vita veris incubuit, post
veritate potiri, sic eum qui falsa
est, fallacia

veris

extrema torqueri, ut

oblectetur, hie

lachris."

falsis

acri-

sectatus

ille

rebus

vexetur simu-

*

But notwithstanding this important truth
was obscurely hinted by the Lesser Myster
ies,

we must
*

not suppose that

FICINUS

:

De Immwtal. Anim. book

it

was gen-

xviii.

Bacchic Mysteries.
erally

known even

themselves

47

to the initiated persons

for as individuals of

:

almost

descriptions were admitted to these rites,
would have been a ridiculous prostitution

all
it

to disclose to the multitude a theory so ab
stracted and sublime.* It was sufficient to

instruct these in the doctrine of a future

rewards and punishments, and in

state of

the means of returning to the principles

from which they
*

We

observe in the

of Jesus
oteric,

and

and Paul

"

for this

:

Testament a like disposition on the part

to classify their doctrines as esoteric

Mysteries of the kingdom of

"the

"parables"

Paul,

New

originally fell

for the multitude.

among them

"

and ex

for the apostles,

speak

"We

that are perfect

Also Jesus declares

God"

wisdom,"

(or initiated), etc.

1

says

Cor

given to you to know the
Mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given ;

inthians,

ii.

therefore I speak to

them

"

:

It is

in parables

:

because they seeing, see

and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand."
Matthew xiii., 11-13. He also justified the withholding of the

not,

higher and interior knowledge from the untaught and ill-disposed,
memorable Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew vii.

in the

:

"Give

ye not that which

is

sacred to the dogs,

Neither cast ye your pearls to the swine

For the swine

And

will tread

them under

the dogs will turn and rend

;

their feet

you."

This same division of the Christians into neophytes and perfect,

appears to have been kept up for centuries
asserts that

it is

maintained in the

Roman

;

and Godfrey Higgins

Church.

A.

W.

Eleusinian and

48

information was, according to
Plato in the Phtedo, the ultimate design of

last piece of

the Mysteries

;

and the former

is

necessarily

from the present discourse. Hence
the reason why it was obvious to none but
the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophers,
inferred

who

derived their theology from Orpheus
himself,* the original founder of these sacred

and why we meet with no in
formation in this particular in any writer
prior to Plotinus as he was the first who,
institutions;

;

having penetrated the profound interior wis

dom

of

antiquity, delivered

it

to posterity

without the concealments of mystic symbols

and fabulous narratives//

VIEGIL NOT A PLATONIST.

Hence

too, I think,

we may

infer,

with

the greatest probability, that this recondite

meaning

of the Mysteries

/HERODOTUS,

ii.

51,

was not known

8L

Orpheus delivered in hidden allegories Pythagoras
learned when he was initiated into the Orphic Mysteries
and
*"What

;

Plato next received a knowledge of them from the Orphic and

Pythagorean

writings." f

Bacchic Mysteries.

49

who has

so elegantly

even to Virgil himself,

described their external form

;

for notwith

standing the traces of Platonism which are
to be found in the jEnei-d, nothing of any

depth occurs throughout the whole,
except what a superficial reading of Plato

great

and the dramas of the Mysteries might easily
But this is not perceived by modern
afford.
who, entirely unskilled themselves in
Platonism, and fascinated by the charms of

readers,

him to be deeply knowing
with which he was most likely

his poetry, imagine

in a subject

but slightly acquainted.

This opinion

is still

farther strengthened by considering that the
doctrine delivered in his Eclogues is perfectly

Epicurean, which was the fashionable phi
losophy of the Augustan age and that there
is no trace of Platonism in any other part of
;

his

works but the present book, which, con

taining a representation of the Mysteries,

was necessarily obliged

to display

some

of

the principal tenets of this philosophy, so
far as they illustrated and made a part of
these mystic exhibitions.
However, on the
supposition that this book presents us with

Eleusinian and

50

a faithful view of some part of these sacred
rites, and this accompanied with the utmost

harmony, and purity of versifica
ought to be considered as an invalu

elegance,
tion, it

able relic of antiquity,

ument

of

venerable

and a precious

mon

mysticism, recondite

wisdom, and theological information.* This
will be sufficiently evident from what has
been already delivered, by considering some
of the beautiful descriptions of this book in
their natural order; at the same time that
the descriptions themselves will corroborate
the present elucidations.

In the

first place,

-facilis

then,

when he

says,

descensus Averno.

Noctes atque dies patet atra janua ditis
Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras,
Hoc opus, hie labor est. Pauci quos tequus amavit
:

Jupiter, aut ardens evexit ad sethera virtus,

Dis geniti potuere.

Tenent media omnia

silvre,

Cocytusque sinu labens, cireumvenit atro

1

*

Ancient Symbol-Worship, page 11, note.
Davidson s Translation." Easy is the path that leads down to
hell grim Pluto s gate stands open night and day
to retrace
t

:

;

one

s steps,

a task.

and escape

Some

few,

to the

whom

"but

regions, this is a work, this is

upper
favoring Jove loved, or

illustrious virtue

Bacchic Mysteries.
is it

51

not obvious, from the preceding expla

by Avernus, in this place, and
the dark gates of Pluto, we must understand
nation, that

a corporeal or external nature, the descent
into which is, indeed, at all times obvious

and

easy, but to recall our steps,

and ascend

into the upper regions, or, in other words,
to separate the soul

from the body by the

purifying discipline, is indeed a mighty work,
and a laborious task ? For a few only, the fa
vorites of heaven, that

is,

born with the true

philosophic genius,* and whom ardent virtue
has elevated to a disposition and capacity for
divine contemplation, have been enabled to

accomplish the arduous design. But when
he says that all the middle regions are
covered with woods, this likewise plainly in
timates a material nature
is

;

the

word

silva,

as

well known, being used by ancient writers

to signify matter,

and implies nothing more

than that the passage leading to the barathadvanced to heaven, the sons of the gods, have effected it.
Woods cover all the intervening space, and Cocytus, gliding with
his black,
*

winding

flood,

surrounds

it."

I.e., a disposition to investigate for the purpose of eliciting

truth,

and reducing

it

to practice.

Eleusinian and

52

mm

L

of body,

[abyss]

e.

into profound

darkness and oblivion, is through the me
dium of a material nature and this medium
;

is surrounded by the black bosom of Cocyand lamenta
tus,* that is, by bitter weeping

consequence of the soul s
union with a nature entirely foreign to her
tions, the necessary

So that the poet in this particular per
in the
fectly corresponds with Empedocles
line we have cited above, where he exclaims,
own.

alluding to this union,
For

this I weep, for this indulge

That

e er

my

my

icoe,

soul such novel realms should know.

In the next place, he thus describes the
to
cave, through which -/Eneas descended
the infernal regions:
Spelunca alta

fuit,

vastoque immanis hiatu,

Scrupea, tuta lacu nigro,

Quam

super haud

ullae

memorumque

tenebris

:

poterant impune volantes

Tendere iterpennis: talis sese halitus atris
Faucieus effundens supera ad convexa ferebat:

Unde locum
*

Graii dixerunt

nomine Aornum

1

Cocytus, lamentation, a river in the Underworld,
There was a cave profound and
Davidson s Translation.
"

t

a black lake,
hideous, with wide yawning mouth, stony, fenced by

Bacchic Mysteries.

Does

53

not afford a beautiful representation
of a corporeal nature, of which a cave, de
it

fended with a black lake, and dark woods,
is an obvious emblem ?
For it occultly re

minds us of the ever-flowing and obscure
condition of such a nature, which may be
said
To

roll

incessant with impetuous speed,

Like some dark

Nor

is it

with

river, into

Matter

s sea.

propriety denominated
destitute of birds, or a winged
less

Aormis, i. e.
nature for on account of

its

ness and inactivity, and

its

;

native sluggish
merged condi-

and the gloom of woods over which none of the flying kind were
able to wing their way unhurt
such exhalations issuing from its
ascended
to
vaulted
the
skies for which reason the
grim jaws
;

;

;

Greeks called the place by the name of Aornos" (without birds).
Jacob Bryant says:
All fountains were esteemed sacred, but
"

especially those

which had any preternatural quality and abounded
It was an universal notion that a divine energy

with exhalations.

proceeded from these effluvia

;

and that the persons who resided

were gifted with a prophetic quality.
The
Ammonians styled such fountains Ain Omplie, or fountains of the

in their vicinity

ouacle

;

.

ojrf YJ, omplic, signifying

the Greeks contracted to
Mythology, vol.

i.

the voice of God.

NojJUfnq,

numpJie, a

.

.

These terms

nymph."

Ancient

p. 276.

The Delphic oracle was above a fissure, gounous or bocca infethe earth, and the pythoness inhaled the vapors.
A. W.

riore, of

Eleusinian and

54
tion,

being situated in the outmost extremity

of things,

it is

perfectly debile

and languid,

incapable of ascending into the regions of
reality, and exchanging its obscure and de

graded station for one every

and

divine.

The propriety too

way

splendid

of sacrificing,

previous to his entrance, to Night and Earth,
is obvious, as both these are emblems of a
corporeal nature.

In the verses which immediately follow,
Ecce autem, primi sub limina

Sub pedibus mugire solum,

soils et ortus,

et juga caepta

movere

Silvarum, visaque canes ululare per umbram,

Adventante dea

we may

*

perceive an evident allusion to the

earthquakes, etc., attending the descent of
the soul into body, mentioned by Plato in
the tenth book of his Republic ;f since the
*

"So, now, at the first beams and rising of the sun, the earth
under the feet begins to rumble, the wooded hills to quake, and

dogs were seen howling through the shade, as the goddess came
hither

"

\Republic. x, 16. / After they were laid asleep, and midnight
was approaching, there was thunder and earthquake and they
were thence on a sudden carried upward, some one way, and
some another, approaching to the region of generation like stars."
;

Bacchic Mysteries.

we

lapse of the soul, as
hereafter,

was one

55

more

shall see

fully

of the important truths

which these Mysteries were intended to re
And the howling dogs are symbols
veal.
of material * demons, who are thus denomi
nated by the Magian Oracles of Zoroaster,
on account of their ferocious and malevolent
dispositions, ever baneful to the felicity of

the

human

And

soul.

hence Matter herself

represented by Synesius in his

is

first

Hymn,

with great propriety and beauty, as barking
at the soul with devouring rage for thus he
:

sings, addressing himself to the
Maxap

6c

T:

(3opov

!

thrice blessed

From Hyle
*

are

s t

!

:

6Xa<;

Which may be thus paraphrased
Blessed

Deity

:

who, with winged speed,

dread voracious barking

flies,

demons are a lower grade of spiritual essences that
capable of assuming forms which make them perceptible by

Material

the physical senses.

\Hyle or Matter.
shown, was supposed

A.

W.

All evil incident to
to originate

to material substance, the latter

human

life,

as

is

here

from the connection of the soul

being regarded as the receptacle

Ehminian and

56

And, leaving Earth

By

And

s

obscurity behind,

a light leap, directs his steps to thee.

demons

that material

actually ap

peared to the initiated previous to the lucid
visions of the gods themselves, is evident

from the following passage of Proclus in
his

Commentary

manuscript

Alcibiades:

sv

"

etc

"^v

the

first

TGUC

a:ro

ayaihov

on

6Xv]v

rcov
/.

-TupoxaXoDjJisvat.

In the most interior sanctities of the

e.

Mys

before the presence of the god, the
rushing forms of earthly demons appear, and
teries,

the attention from the immaculate good

call

to

matter."

expressly

And

asserts,

Pletho (on the Oracles),
that these spectres

ap

peared in the shape of dogs.
After

this,

^Eneas

is

described as proceed

ing to the infernal regions, through profound
night and darkness
:

Ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbram,

Perque domos Ditis vacuas,
of everything evil.

ished

is

et inania regna.

But why the soul

nowhere explained.

A.

W.

is

thus immerged and pun

57

Bacchic Mysteries.
Quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna
Est iter in silvis ubi cselum condidit umbra
:

Jupiter, et rebus

And

nox

abstulit atra colorem.*

with the greatest propriety; for
the Mysteries, as is well known, were cele
this

brated by night

;

and in the Republic

of

Plato, as cited above, souls are described as
falling into the estate of generation at mid

night; this period being peculiarly accom
modated to the darkness and oblivion of a

and to this circumstance
corporeal nature
the nocturnal celebration of the Mysteries
;

doubtless alluded.

In the next place, the following vivid
description presents itself to our view:
Vestibulum ante ipsum, primisque in faucibus Orei
Luctus, et ultrices posuere cubilia Curse

:

Pallentesque habitant morbi, tristisque senectus,
Et Metus, et mala suada Fames, ac turpis egestas;

*

"

They went

along,

amid the gloom under the

solitary night,

through the shade, and through the desolate halls,
realms of Dis [Pluto or Hades].

Such

is

and empty

a journey in the woods

beneath the unsteady moon with her niggard light, when Jupiter
has enveloped the sky in shade, and the black Night has taken

from

all

objects their

color."

Eleusinian and

58

Terribiles visu formae

;

Lethumque Laborque

;

Turn consanguineus Lethi Sopor et mala mentis
Gaudia, mortiferiimqiie adverse in limine bellum
Ferreique

Eumenidum thalami

et Discordia

demens,

Vipereum crinem vittis innexa cruentis.
In medio ramos annosaque brachia pandit

Ulmus opaea ingens quam sedem somnia vulgo
Vana tenere ferunt, foliisque sub omnibus haerent.
:

Multaque

prae terea variarurn

monstra ferarum

:

Centauri in foribus stabulant, Scyllgeque biformes,

Et centumgeminus Briareus, ac bellua Lernaa,
stridens, flammisque armata Chimasra,

Horrendum

Gorgones Harpyiaaque, et formo tricorporis umbras.*

And

impossible to draw a more
lively picture of the maladies with which a
surely

it is

*

"Before the entrance itself, and in the first
jaws of Hell, Grief
and vengeful Cares have placed their couches pale Diseases in
habit there, and sad Old Age, and Fear, and Want, evil goddess
;

and unsightly Poverty
forms terrible to contem
there, too, are Death and Toil; then Sleep, akin to

of persuasion,

plate! and
Death, and

evil Delights of mind and upon the opposite threshold
are seen death-bringing War, and the iron marriage-couches of
the Furies, and raving Discord, with her viper-hair bound with
;

In the midst, an Elm dark and huge expands its
boughs and aged limbs; making an abode which vain Dreams are
said to haunt, and under whose every leaf they dwell. Besides all

gory wreaths.

these, are

many monstrous

apparitions of various wild beasts.

The

Centaurs harbor at the gates, and double-formed Scyllas, the hun
dred-fold Briareus, the Snake of Lerna, hissing
dreadfully,

and

Chimasra armed with flames, the Gorgous and the Harpies, and
the shades of three-bodied form."

59

Bacchic Mysteries.
material nature

is

connected

of the soul s

;

dormant condition through its union with
body and of the various mental diseases to
;

which, through such a conjunction,

comes unavoidably subject

;

it

be

for this descrip

tion contains a threefold division

represent
evil with
external
ing, in the first place, the
which this material region is replete in the
;

;

second place, intimating that the

when merged

life

of the

nothing but
a dream; and, in the third place, under the dis
guise of multiform and terrific monsters, ex
soul

in the

body

is

hibiting the various vices of our irrational and
sensuous part. Hence Empedocles, in perfect

conformity with the

part of this descrip
tion, calls this material abode, or the realms
of generation,
oov,* a "joyless
atsprcsa
first

/a> 4

region"

11

Where

EvO-a

slaughter, rage,

is
<povo?

and countless

reside;

XOTO? TS xai aXXuw eBvsa xfjpwv

and into which those who
*

ills

fall,

This and the other citations from Empedocles are to be found

in the

book

of Hierocles

on The Golden Verses of Pythagoras.

60

Bacchic Mysteries.
"

Through Ate

s

meads and dreadful darkness

stray."

Y]aazooa .v.

And

hence he justly says to such a

soul,

that
u She
flies

from deity and heav nly

To serve mad Discord

Where

too

we may observe that

demens of Virgil
the Neixst

In the

[j.aivo|Jtsv(p

lines, too,

the

ceed,

is

sorroivs

attending the soul

s

light,

in the realms of

night."

the Discordia

an exact translation of
of Empedocles.

which immediately suc
and mournful miseries
union with a material

nature, are beautifully described.
Hinc

via, Tartarei quae fert

Acherontis ad undas

;

Turbidus hie caeno vastaque voragine gurges
-<Estuat, atque omnem Cocyto eructat arenam.*

And when Charon
*

out to ^Eneas to

the way which leads to the surging billows of Hell
here an abyss turbid boils up with loathsome mud and

is

"Here

[Acheron]

calls

;

vast whirlpools; and vomits

all its

quicksand into

Cocytus."

7JC

V

\

i.

;

t

v

~

*/

i

Jupiter and Calisto.

Diaua aud

Calisto.

,v\

\>

Bacchic Mysteries.
desist

from entering any

63

farther,

and

tells

him,
Here

"

"For

to reside delusive shades delight;

nought dwells here but sleep and drowsy night."

Umbrarum

hie locus est,

Somni Noctisque

soporae

-

nothing can more aptly express the condi
tion of the dark regions of body, into which
the soul,

when

descending, meets with no

thing but shadows and drowsy night and
by persisting in her course, is at length lulled
into profound sleep, and becomes a true in
:

habitant of the phantom-abodes of the dead.

gian lake,

having now passed over the Sty
meets with the three-headed mon

ster Cerberus,* the guardian of these infernal

abodes

:

Tandem

trans fluvium incolumis vatemque virumque

Inform! limo glaucaque exponit in ulva.
*

The presence of Cerberus in Grecian and Roman descriptions
Underworld shows that the ideas of the poets and mythol-

of the
ogists

were derived, not only from Egypt, but from the Brahmans

Yama, the lord of the Underworld, is attended
dog Karbaru, the spotted, styled also Trikasa, the three-

of the far East.

by

his

headed.

Eleusinian and

64

Cerberus haec ingens latratu regna trifauci
Personat, adverse recubans immanis in antro.*

Vi

By

Cerberus

we must understand

the dis

criminative part of the soul, of which a dog,
on account of its sagacity, is an emblem and
;

the three heads signify the triple distinction
of this part, into the intellective [or intui
tional], cogitative [or rational],

With

ative powers./

and opinion-

respect f to the three

kinds of persons described as situated on the
borders of the infernal realms, the poet
doubtless intended by this enumeration to
represent to us the three most remarkable
*
"At
length across the river safe, the prophetess and the man,
he lands upon the slimy strand, upon the blue sedge. Huge Cer
berus makes these realms [of death] resound with barking from his

threefold throat, as he lies stretched at prodigious length in the

opposite

cave."

tin the second edition these terms are changed to dianoietic
and doxastic, words which we cannot adopt, as they are not

The no-us, intellect or spirit, pertains
higher or intuitional part of the mind; the dianoia or

accepted English terms.
to the

understanding to the reasoning faculty, and the doxa, or opinion-

forming power, to the faculty of investigation.

opinion, science,

the

first is

tuition."

reception

A.

W.

Plotinus, accept

Knowledge has three degrees
and illumination. The means or instrument

ing this theory of mind, says:

;

"

of the second, dialectic

;

of

of the third, in

Bacchic Mysteries.
characters,

65

who, though not apparently de

serving of punishment, are yet each of them
similarly immerged in matter, and conse
quently require a similar degree of purifica

The persons described are, as is well
known, first, the souls of infants snatched
away by untimely ends; secondly, such as
are condemned to death unjustly and, third
their lives, become
ly, those who, weary of
tion.

;

And with respect to the
guilty of suicide.
first of these, or infants, their connection
with a material nature

ond

sort, too,

who

are

is

obvious.

condemned

The

sec

to death

must be supposed to represent the
souls of men who, though innocent of one
crime for which they were wrongfully pun

unjustly,

ished, have, notwithstanding,

many

crimes, for

been guilty of

which they are receiving

proper chastisement in Hades, i. e. through
a profound union with a material nature.*

And
*

the third sort, or suicides, though ap-

Hades, the Underworld, supposed by classical students to be
it will have been noticed, is

the region or estate of departed souls,

regarded by Mr. Taylor and other Platonists, as the human body,
which they consider to be the grave and place of punishment of
the soul.

A.

W.

Eleusinian and

66

parently separated from the body, have only
exchanged one place for another of similar

nature

;

since conduct of this kind, according

to the arcana of divine philosophy, instead

of separating the soul

restores

it

from

its

body, only

to a condition perfectly correspon

former inclinations and habits,
lamentations and woes:* But if we examine
dent to

its

this affair

more profoundly, we

shall find

that these three characters are justly placed
in the same situation, because the reason of

punishment

is

For

in each equally obscure.

not a just matter of doubt why the
souls of infants should be punished ? And

is

it

not equally dubious and wonderful why
those who have been unjustly condemned to
death in one period of existence should be

is it

punished in another?

And

as to suicides,

Plato in his Plicedo says that the prohibition
of this crime in the aTCOppv^a (aporrheta) *
is
*

a profound doctrine,

and not easy

Aporrheta, the arcane or confidential disclosures

candidate undergoing initiation.

made by

to be

made

the Hierophant, and enforced by him from the

of Interpretation, said to

This was the pctroma, a

to the

In the Eleusinia, these were

Book

have consisted of two tablets of stone.

name

usually derived from petra, a rock,

67

Bacchic Mysteries.
understood.*
the two

first

Indeed, the true cause why
of these characters are in Hades,

can only be ascertained from the fact of a prior
state of existence, in surveying which, the

latent justice of

punishment

will be

mani

the apparent inconsistencies
in the administration of Providence fully
festly revealed

;

and the doubts concerning the

reconciled;

wisdom

of its proceedings entirely dissolved.

And as

to the last of these, or suicides, since

the reason of their punishment, and why an
action of this kind is in general highly

and obscure,

atrocious, is extremely mystical

the following solution of this difficulty will,
no doubt, be gratefully received by the Pla
tonic reader, as the whole of
else to

*

6-8.

A.

"ins,

peter,

See

an interpreter.

Olym-

//. Corinthians,

W.

Plicedo, 16.

Mysteries, that

that

no where

be found but in manuscript.

or possibly from
xii.

it is

The instruction
we human beings
"

we ought not

me

in the doctrine given in the

are in a kind of prison, and

to free ourselves

from

it

or seek to escape,

be understood, and not easy to ap
prehend. The gods take care of us, and we are theirs."
Plotinus, it will be remembered, perceived by the interior
appears to

difficult to

faculty that Porphyry contemplated

him accordingly.

A.

W.

suicide,

and admonished

Eleusinian and

68

piodorus, then, a most learned and excellent
commentator on Plato, in his commentary

that part of the Phcedo where Plato
speaks of the prohibition of suicide in the
The argu
aporrheta, observes as f olio ws

011

:

/"

ment which Plato employs in this place
against suicide is derived from the Orphic
mythology, in which four kingdoms are
celebrated the first of Uranus [Ouranos]
(Heaven), whom Kronos or Saturn as
;

saulted,

cutting

father.*

But

off

the

after Saturn,

genitals

of

his

Zeus or Jupiter

succeeded to the government of the world,
having hurled his father into Tartarus. And
after Jupiter,
light,

Dionysus or Bacchus rose to

who, according to report, was, through

the insidious treachery of Hera or Juno, torn
in pieces by the Titans, by whom he was sur

rounded, and who afterwards tasted his flesh
but Jupiter, enraged at the deed, hurled his
:

thunder at the guilty offenders and consumed
them to ashes. Hence a certain matter be*In the Hindu mythology, from which

this

symbolism

is

evidently derived, a deity deprived thus of the lingam or phal
lus,

parted with his divine authority.

69

Bacchic Mysteries.

ing formed from the ashes or sooty vapor
of the smoke ascending from their burning
bodies, out of this

mankind were produced.

It is unlawful, therefore, to destroy ourselves,

not as the words of Plato seem to import,

we

because

are in the body, as in prison,

secured by a guard (for this is evident,
and Plato would not have called such an

but because our body is
of Bacchus:
Dioiiysiacal,* or of the nature
for we are a part of him, since we are

assertion arcane),

from

composed

the

of

vapor

the

ashes,

Titans

who

or

sooty
his

tasted

Socrates, therefore, as if fearful of
this narra
disclosing the arcane part of

flesh.

tion,

relates

nothing

more

the

of

fable

than that we are placed as in a prison
secured by a guard but the interpreters re
:

late the fable

TOIOOTOV.

Qapa

ai8ota
*

TJV

TOO

6

TraTo^.

From Dionysus,

translated.

Kpovoc

TO>

Op<pi

[xsv,

8ie8ea co,

Ms-ca

the Greek

s;it TO

IlpaycTj

iuapa8iSovtai.

(bpavoo,

Kai

openly.",

name

SYJ

YJ

exi:|xa>v

TOV

of Bacchus,

w
i

Kpovov,
and usually so

Eleusinian and

70

epaotXeooev zaTaTapTapcoaac TOV TuaEtTa TOV Aia 8isieotto 6 Atovoao^, 6v

repat.

c

%ar

cpaat

eirtpooXiQV

*at

aTuotparuetv,

s%

ac
tcov

avaSofl-svicov

Ytv

vjjia^

^

aotcov,

TCVC

v

aXX

S^SYS,
a)^

*

(JtepG^

?TI,

TO

Git

oo

.

aotv

atj

6X7]^

Set

TOO

acojxaToc

Y aP

a ^ to J

Stovootaxoo

TJ[J.(OV

Y yaa

aoY%et(JLefl-a

O

sx

etYe

SGJJLSV,

(isv

tr^
JLS ~
l

oov ScoxpaTOO

[JLO^OO

TOO co^ sv Ttvt

cppoopa

OfTCOppTjTOV

TupoaTtO-jiat
r

Zsoc,

%ai 00% av

5

aap^wv TOOTOO.

epYCp

TYJC

"^v

5C[J->

r

TCOV

6

OTC

Ttiavcov
vcov

aotoy

aap^cov

atftaXiqc

TYJC

saoto jc, GO/
sv

Oos

TCDV

omoo

rcspt

Kat TOOTOU^ opyca^sc^

.

pjx-ov

Hpac too?

TTJ<;

Ot 5s s^TjY^Tai

SctT-VO^,

^GV

(lo^ov

JipGartiJ-e-

After this he beautifully ob
That these four governments signify

ea)fl-ev.
"

serves,

the different gradations of virtues, accord
ing to which our soul contains the symbols
of

all

the qualities, both contemplative and

purifying, social

and

ethical;

for

it

either

Bacchic Mysteries.

71

operates according to the theoretic or con
templative virtues, the model of which is the

Uranus or Heaven, that we
may begin from on high; and on this ac
count Uranus (Heaven) is so called Trapa
TOO TO. avo) opcfv, from beholding the things
above Or it lives purely, the exemplar of
which is the Kronian or Saturnian kingdom
and on this account Kronos is named as
Koro-nous, one who perceives through him
self.
Hence he is said to devour his own
offspring, signifying the conversion of him
government

of

:

;

self into his

own

substance

or

it

operates
according to the social virtues, the sym
bol of which is the government of Jupiter.
:

Jupiter is styled the Demiurgus,
as operating about secondary things:
or
it operates according to both the ethical

Hence,

and physical virtues, the symbol of which
is the kingdom of Bacchus; and on this
account is fabled to be torn in pieces by
the Titans, because the virtues are not cut
off

by each

TovTca)
TCOV

5s

other.

Tooc

"J

ACVOTTOVTOII (lege

Sta^spooc

pa&jiooc

TCOV

caviT-

a os4

Bacchic Mysteries.

72
T(DV

ia

tta~a

yc/ip

8siyt

pTjtai

(jLata

Aio

ttopovc j^

%at

XsysTQti,

H

Aio?
^

6

svepyst

xctTct

TL^

xaTairivsiv
co^

aotoc

Tac

3aatXsca,

cov

Sea

Ta

SCCOTOV

ocxsia

ysvvvj-

Tcpo^ saycov
(bv

e

Sco

%at

a

00%

avraitoXoyS-ODaiv

And

thus far Olympiodorus
it is

TO

%at SYjjicoDpyo;

810

irapa-

%at Kpovoc si-

TCoXiTixac

k

paocXsta,

^

8co

7Tpi Ta Ss jTspa svspycov.

Acovoooo

a>v

C^?

xa^aptc%a>c

Kpovsia ^aoiXsta,

/)

r

cpcov.

opcjLV.

oiov

opav.

H

C

ta avw

i

oopavoo paotXsta, cva av(ol>sv
%at oupavoc sipT^at icapa toy

8to

a,

JLa

etopYjTucac

toy

7]

TO

TCOV

apsicov,

Zsoc,

H

zcctpaT

aXXYjXatc
;

6

in

cs cai,

at

Scoit

ctpstat.

which pas

necessary to observe, that as the

sages
Titans are the artificers of things, and stand
next in order to their creations, men are
said to be

composed from

because the

human

their fragments,

soul has a partial life

capable of proceeding to the most extreme
division united with its proper nature. And

while the soul

is

in a state of servitude to

Eleusinian Mysteries.

75

Bacchic Mysteries.

the body, she lives confined, as it were, in
bonds, through the dominion of this Titan
ical life.

"We

may observe

farther concerning

these dramatic shows of the Lesser

Mys

that as they were intended to rep
resent the condition of the soul while
teries,

subservient to the body,

we

shall find that

a liberation from this servitude, through the
purifying disciplines, potencies that separate

from

evil,

was what the wisdom

an

of the

by the descent of
into Hades, and their

cients intended to signify

Hercules, Ulysses, etc.,
speedy return from its dark abodes.

"

Hence,"

u

Hercules being purified by
says Proclus,
sacred initiations, obtained at length a per
fect establishment
is,

well

the

gods:"*

that

knowing the dreadful condition
and

of

captivity to a corporeal
purifying himself by practice of

his soul while

nature,

among

in

the cleansing virtues, of which certain puri
fications in the mystic ceremonies were sym

he at length was freed from the
bondage of matter, and ascended beyond her
bolical,

Commentary on

the

Statesman of Plato,

382.
jp>.

Eleusinian and

76

On

reach.

this account,

it is

said of him,

that
"

He dragg d

the three-mouth d dog to upper day

"

;

intimating that by temperance, continence,
and the other virtues, he drew upwards the

and opinionative part of
as to Theseus, who is repre

intuitional, rational,

the

And

soul.v

sented as suffering eternal punishment in
Hades, we must consider him too a& an
allegorical character, of

which Proclus, in the

above-cited admirable work, gives the fol
Theseus and
lowing beautiful explanation
"

:

"

Pirithous,"

says he,

are fabled to have ab

ducted Helen, and descended to the infernal
regions, i. e. they were lovers both of mental

and

visible beauty.

Afterward one of these

(Theseus), on account of his magnanimity,

was

liberated

the other

by Hercules from Hades

(Pirithous)

;

but

remained there, be

cause he could not attain the

difficult

height
This account, in
deed, of Theseus can by no means be recon
ciled with Virgil s

of divine contemplation."

:

sedet, aeternumque sedebit,
Infelix Theseus.*
*

"

There

sits,

and forever

shall

sit,

the unhappy

Theseus."

Bacchic Mysteries.

Nor do

I see

how

Virgil can be reconciled

with himself, who, a

him

resents

conjecture,

77

little

as liberated
therefore,

of

before this, rep

from Hades.

The

is

most

Hygimis

probable, that Virgil in this particular

com

mitted an oversight, which, had he lived, he

would doubtless have detected, and amended.
This is at least much more probable than the
opinion of Dr. Warburton, that Theseus was
a living character,

who once entered

into the

Eleusinian Mysteries by force, for which he
was imprisoned upon earth, and afterward

punished in the infernal realms. For if this
was the case, why is not Hercules also

punishment? and this
with much greater reason, since he actually
dragged Cerberus from Hades whereas the

represented

as

in

;

fabulous descent of Theseus was attended

with no

but only intentional, mischief.
Not to mention that Virgil appears to be
real,

the only writer of antiquity who condemns
this hero to ,an eternity of pain.

Nor

the secret meaning of the fables
concerning the punishment of impure souls
is

78

Eleusinian and

and profound, as the follow
ing extract from the manuscript commentary
of Olympiodorus on the Gorgias of Plato will
less impressive

abundantly affirm
"

"

:

Ulysses,"

descending into Hades, saw,

says

among

he,

others,

Sisyphus, and Tityus, and Tantalus. Tityus
he saw lying on the earth, and a vulture de

vouring his liver; the liver signifying that
he lived solely according to the principle of
cupidity in his nature, and through this was
indeed internally prudent
but the earth
;

signifies that his disposition

was

sordid.

Sisyphus, living under the dominion of

But
ambi

and anger, was employed in continually
rolling a stone up an eminence, because it
tion

perpetually descended again its descent im
plying the vicious government of himself
;

;

and his rolling the

stone, the hard, refractory,
and, as it were, rebounding condition of his
life.
And, lastly, he saw Tantalus extended

and that there was a
tree before him, with abundance of fruit on
its branches, which he desired to gather, but
it vanished from his view
and this indeed
indicates, that he lived under the dominion

by the

side of a lake,

;

Bacchic Mysteries.
of phantasy

and

but his hanging over the lake,

;

in vain attempting to drink, implies the

elusive,

humid, and rapidly-gliding condition
e

of such a

TOV

ot3s

cf5oo

TOV

TavTcdov.

To

yy^.

Kai

oo v

(JLSV

e

jpovttCeto.
OC^TOO

Scao^ov,
TOV

H

r^Tiap

5s

Tov

rppovYjjxa.

%a%co

s

[JLSV

Tttoov,

sic,

Trcoov,

sv

s^c

*ai

Tp jyav,

5c
s

avjiiavsc

TTOva

TO

y\)-ovtov

TOV

^sc5s Tcspi awca

sv

vjaav

arpavst<;

avjjiatvsc

xara

TO

SXUAIS

Au^ov

^oXcTfjo{j.voc.

sv3pocc

OTC.

avjixaivst

C^^CtC

TavTaXov stSsv

xai OTC

TOOTO

TOV

Sia jcpos, %ata TO

3s

TraXtv xaiscpspsv,

psc, o

*ca

ar^acvsc

yvj

%at i)-y|10CC

TtjJLOV,

ttoiTsXihov

KctjlSVOV, 7,aC Ott TO YjTTap OLOTGO

t$

Y7j

OSooasus

()

life."

?

vca:

79

TYJV

TO

Xtjxv

5s

(lege

%ai

oircopac,

af

syivovTO

xata

<paviaaiav

oXtafl-vjpov

Tuo^a jojisvov.

oircopat.

%at

So that accord

ing to the wisdom of the ancients, and the
most sublime philosophy, the misery which
a soul endures in the present

ing

itself

up

to the

life,

when

giv

dominion of the irrational

Eleusinian and

80

more than the commence
were, of that torment which it

part, is nothing

ment, as

it

experience hereafter

will

:

a torment

the

same in kind though different in degree, as
it will be much more dreadful, vehement,
and extended. And by the above specimen,
the reader

may

perceive

how infinitely

supe
rior the explanation which the Platonic phi
losophy affords of these fables ,is to the frigid

and

trifling

other

interpretations 6f

modern mythologists

;

Bacon and

who

are able

indeed to point out their correspondence to
something in the natural or moral world, be
cause such

is

the wonderful connection of

things, that all things sympathize with

all,

but are at the same time ignorant that these
fables were composed by men divinely wise,

who framed them

after the

model of the

highest originals, from the contemplation of
real

and permanent

being,

and not from

re

garding the delusive and fluctuating objects
of sense.
This, indeed, will be evident to
every ingenuous mind, from reflecting that
these wise men universally considered Hell
or death as commencing in the present life

81

Bacchic Mysteries.

we have

already abundantly proved), and
that, consequently, sense is nothing more
than the energy of the dormant soul, and a
(as

perception, as

dreams.

it

were, of the delusions of

In consequence of

this,

is

it

ab

surd in the highest degree to imagine that
such men would compose fables from the

contemplation of shadows only, without re
garding the splendid originals from which
these dark

phantoms were produced

:

not

mention that their harmonizing so much
more perfectly with intellectual explications
is an indisputable proof that they were de
to

rived from an intellectual [noetic] source.

And

thus

much

for the

dramatic shows

of the Lesser Mysteries, or the first part of

these sacred institutions, which was properly
denominated TS/.C-CT] \telete, the closing up]

and

[rj7]ac

muesis [the initiation], as con

taining certain perfective rites, symbolical ex
hibitions and the imparting and reception of

sacred doctrines, previous to the beholding of
the most splendid visions, or STCOTCTSIOI \epopteia,

seership].

For thus the gradation of

82

Bacchic Mysteries.

the Mysteries

is

Theology of Plato, book
rite [TsAstYj,

tel-ete],"

der the initiation
tion,

The

"

iy.

says he,

[|jiu7]ai,

the final apocalypse,

yap,

Proclus in

disposed by

perfective

"precedes

and

muesis],

initia

epopteia."

[xsv TS^STTJ TTJC |iuas(oc, aonrj

TJ

in or

At the same time

s

proper to
observe that the whole business of initiation
it is

was distributed into five parts, as we are
informed by Theon of Smyrna, in Mathematica,

to
u

who thus elegantly compares

thes e mystic rites

philosophy

may be

philosophy

"

:

Again,"

says he,

called the initiation into

true sacred ceremonies, and the instruction
in genuine Mysteries; for there are five
parts of initiation

:

the

first

of

which

is

the

for neither are the

previous

purification

Mysteries

communicated to all who are
receive them but there are cer

willing to

;

tain persons
of the

;

crier

who

are prevented

[xvjpoi, Jcerux],

by the voice

such as those

who

possess impure hands and an inartic
ulate voice
since it is necessary that such
as are not expelled from the Mysteries
;

*

Theology of Plato, book

iv. p. 220.

85

Bacchic Mysteries.

should
tions

:

be refined by certain purifica
but after purification, the reception of
first

The

the sacred rites succeeds.

third part

And

epopteia, or reception.*

denominated

is

the fourth, which is the end and design of the
revelation, is [the investiture] the binding of

The

the head and fixing of the crowns.
tiated person

is,

by

ini

means, authorized

this

communicate to others the sacred rites
whether
in which he has been instructed
after this he becomes a torch-bearer, or an
hierophant of the Mysteries, or sustains some
other part of the sacerdotal office. But the

to

;

which is produced from all these, is
communion with
friendship and interior
fifth,

God, and the

which

arises

enjoyment of that felicity
from intimate converse with
Similar to this

divine beings.

is

the

munication of political instruction;
the
*

E.

first place,

Theon appears

writer says
foot-note

:

to regard the final apocalypse or epopteia, like

The

doctrines.

initiated

"Avaptoi,

to this the epopteia

A.

W.

for, in

a certain purification precedes,

Pococke to whose views allusion
"

com

is

made

were styled

ebaptoi,"

literally obtaining or

would imply the

elsewhere.

and adds

getting."

This
in a

According

final reception of the interior

86

Eleminian and

or else an exercise in proper mathematical
discipline

For thus Em-

from early youth.

pedocles asserts, that

it is

necessary to be

from sordid concerns, by drawing
from five fountains, with a vessel of indis
purified

but Plato, that purification
to be derived from the five mathematical

soluble brass
is

:

namely from arithmetic, geome
stereometry, music, and astronomy but

disciplines,
try,

;

the philosophical instruction in theorems,

and physical, is similar to
But he (that is, Plato) denom

logical, political,

initiation.

inates sTCoircsia [or the revealing], a contem
plation of things which are apprehended in
tuitively, absolute truths,

and

But he

ideas.

considers the binding of the head, and corona
tion, as analogous to the authority which

any

one receives from his instructors, of leading
others to the same contemplation. And the
fifth gradation is, the most
perfect felicity
arising

from hence, and, according to Plato,

an assimilation

to divinity,

sible to mankind."

as far as

But though

is

pos

eiroTrceia,

or the rendition of the arcane ideas,
princi
pally characterized the Greater Mysteries, yet

Bacchic Mysteries.

87

this

was likewise accompanied with the

oic,

or initiation, as will be evident in the

|u>7]-

course of this inquiry.

But

now

proceed to the doctrine of
the Greater Mysteries and here I shall en
let

us

:

deavor to prove that as the dramatic shows
of the Lesser Mysteries occultly signified the
miseries of the soul while in subjection to

body, so those of the Greater obscurely inti
mated, by mystic and splendid visions, the
the soul both here and hereafter,
purified from the defilements of a

felicity of

when

material nature, and constantly elevated to
the realities of intellectual [spiritual] vision.
Hence, as the ultimate design of the Mys
teries,

according to Plato, was to lead us back

to the principles

from which we descended,

to a perfect enjoyment of intellectual
[spiritual] good, the imparting of these prin

that

is,

ciples

was doubtless one part

contained in the
cret discourses
*

*
;

of the doctrine

arcoppTj-ct,

aporrfyeta, or se

and the

different purifica-

The apostle Paul apparently alludes

to the disclosing of the

Mystical doctrines to the epopts or seers, in his Second Epistle
to the Corinthians, xii. 3, 4:
knew a certain man, whether in
"I

Eleusinian and

88

tions exhibited in these rites, in conjunction

with initiation and the epopteia were symbols
of the gradation of virtues requisite to this
reascent of the soul.

And

hence, too, if this
be the case, a representation of the descent of
the soul [from its former heavenly estate]

must

form no inconsiderable part of
these mystic shows all which the following
certainly

;

observations will, I do not doubt, abundantly
evince.

In the

first place,

shows of

then, that the

the Greater Mysteries occultly signified the
felicity of the soul both here and hereafter,

when

separated from the contact and influ
ence of the body, is evident from what has

been demonstrated in the former part of this
discourse for if he who in the present life is
:

in subjection to his

is

truly

superior to its dominion
an Inhabitant of a place totally
from Hades.* If Hades therefore

in Hades,
is

who

irrational part

lie

is

likewise

different

body or outside

of body, I

know

not:

God knoweth,

who was

rapt into paradise, and heard appf]TO p-r^ata, things ineffable,
which it is not lawful for a man to repeat."

*PAUL,
in the

Epistle to the PJiilippians,

heavens."

iii.

20:

"Our

citizenship

is

89

Bacchic Mysteries.

the region or condition of punishment and
reside in the
misery, the purified soul must

is

regions of bliss

;

in a life

and condition

of

in the present life,
purity and contemplation
and eiitheastically,* animated by the divine
*

Medical and

Surgical Reporter,

xxxii. p. 195.

vol.

"Those

who have professed to teach their fellow-mortals new truths con
based their authority on direct divine
cerning immortality, have
inspiration.

Numa,

Zoroaster,

Mohammed,

claimed communication with higher spirits

Greeks called

cntlicast

immersed

in

;

Swedenborg,

all

they were what the

God

a striking

word

which Byron introduced into our tongue." Carpenter describes
the condition as an automatic action of the brain. The inspired

mind suddenly, spontaneously, but very

ideas arise in the
at

some time when

defines genius as

"

thinking of some other topic.

vividly,

Francis Galton

the automatic activity of the mind, as distin

the ideas coming by inspira
guished from the effort of the will,
This action, says the editor of the Eeporter, is largely
tion."
at least by
favored by a condition approaching mental disorder
of
habits
thought.
one remote from the ordinary working day
and unusual com
Fasting, prolonged intense mental action, great
motion of mind, will produce it and, indeed, these extraordinary
;

displays

med,

all

seem

to

began

have been so preceded.

their careers

lowed by angels.
also

saw

visions

Jesus, Buddha, Moham
and visions of devils fol

by fasting,
The candidates in the Eleusinian Mysteries

and apparitions, while engaged

in the mystic

We do not, however, accept the materialistic view of this
orgies.
and
The cases are entheasHc ; and although hysteria
subject.
imitate the
sometimes
other disorders of the sympathetic system
we believe with Plato and Plotinus, that the higher
phenomena,

faculty, intellect or "intuition as

of our nature,

is

we prefer

to call

the faculty actually at work.

it,

the noetic part

"By

reflection,

Eleminian and

90

This being admitted,
energy, in the next.
let us proceed to consider the description
which Virgil gives us of these fortunate
abodes, and the latent signification which
it contains.
^Eneas and his guide, then, hav
ing passed through Hades, and seen at a dis

tance Tartarus, or ithe utmost profundity of
a material nature, they next advance to the

Elysian fields:
Devenere locus

laetos, et

amsena vireta

Fortuuatorum nemorum, sedesque beatas.
Largior hie campos aatker et lumine vestit
Purpureo

;

solemque suum, sua sidera norunt.*

Now

the secret meaning of these joyful
places is thus beautifully unfolded by Olym-

piodorus in his manuscript
the Gorgias of Plato.

"It

Commentary on
is

necessary to

"

know,"

says he,

are said to be

that the fortunate islands
raised above the sea; and

self-knowledge, and intellectual discipline, the soul can be raised
to the vision of eternal truth, goodness,

the vision of
*

God."

This

is

the epopteia.

and beauty
A.

that

is,

to

W.

They came to the blissful regions, and delightful green re
A freer and
treats, and happy abodes in the fortunate groves.
"

purer sky here clothes the
nize their

own

sun, their

fields

own

with a purple light

stars."

;

they recog

Bacchic Mysteries.

91

hence a condition of being, which transcends

and generated existence,

this corporeal life

denominated the islands of the blessed
these are the same with the Elysian

And on

account Hercules

this

have accomplished his

is

last labor in

;

is

but

fields.

said to

Hes

the

perian regions signifying by this, that having
vanquished a dark and earthly life he after
;

ward lived in day, that
Asi

s

is,

in truth

and

avco^spco

ooaat.

ao j^ otaXo^ac.

Aia

TO 7}Xootov lusSwv.
Xr^c tsXeoTGttov

afl-Xov

av:i

y^ovcov

TTJV

Taozov 8s

vcat

TOV

XOCTCOV

sv

r^ispa,

g o that he who

sv a/^O-sca
^(o-^
^.
in the present state vanquishes as

possible a

Hpax-

sv TOI^ soirsptot^

vcar^ycovcaaTO

^LGV,

oov

TOI TOD-CO 7,ac 6

icai

as

light."

siSsvai GTC at vr^ao

corporeal

life,

much

through

the

practice of the purifying virtues, passes in
reality into the

Fortunate Islands of the

soul,

and lives surrounded with the bright splen
dors of truth and wisdom proceeding from
the sun of good.

92

Bacchic Mysteries.

The

poet, in describing the

of the blessed, says

employments

:

Pars in gramineis exercent membra palaestris
Contendunt ludo, et f ulva luctantur arena

:

:

Pars pedibus plaudunt choreas, et carmina dieunt.

Nee non Threicius longa cum veste sacerdos
Obloquitur numeris septem discrimina vocum

:

lamque eadem digitis, jam pectine pulsat eburno.
Hie genus antiquum Teucri, puleherrima proles,

Magnanimi

heroes, nati melioribus annis,

Illusque, Assaracusque, et Trojse

Arma

Dardanus auctor.

procul, currusque virum miratur inanis.

Stant terra defixas hastoa, passimque soluti
Per campum pascuntur equi. Quae gratia curruum

Armorumque

fuit vivis, quse cura nitentis

Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos.
Conspicit, ecce alios, dextra laavaque per

herbam

Vescentis, leetumque choro Pseana canentis,
Inter odoratum lauri

nemus

:

unde super ne

Plurimus Eridani per silvam volvitur amnis.*

*

"Some exercise their limbs upon the
grassy field, contend in
play and wrestle on the yellow sand; some dance on the ground

and utter songs. The priestly Thracian, likewise, in his long
robe [Orpheus] responds in melodious numbers to the seven
distinguished notes and now strikes them with his fingers, now
;

with the ivory

Here are also the ancient race of Teucer,
a most illustrious progeny, noble heroes, born in happier years,
quill.

Assarac, and Dardan, the founder of Troy.

yEneas looking
admires
the
and
of the heroes.
arms
war-cars
afar,
empty
There stood spears fixed in the ground, and scattered over the

II,

from

plain horses

are feeding.

The same

taste

which when

alive

Eleusiiiiaii Mysteries.

Bacchic Mysteries.

95

This must not be understood as

if

the soul

in the regions of felicity retained any affec
tion for material concerns, or was engaged in

the trifling pursuits of the everyday cor
poreal life but that when separated from
;

generation,

and the world s

stantly engaged in

she

life,

is

con

employments proper to the

higher spiritual nature either in divine con
tests of the most exalted wisdom in forming
;

;

the responsive dance of refined imagina
tions; in tuning the sacred lyre of mystic
piety to strains of divine fury and ineffable
delight in giving free scope to the splendid
and winged powers of the soul; or in
;

nourishing the higher intellect with the sub

banquets of intelligible [spiritual]
food.
Nor is it without reason that the
river Eridanus is represented as flowing
stantial

through these delightful abodes; and

is

at

men had for chariots and arms, the same passion for rear
ing glossy steeds, follow them reposing beneath the earth. Lo
these

also

he views others, on the right and

left,

!

feasting on the grass,

and singing in chorus the joyful paeon, amid a fragrant grove of
laurel; whence from above the greatest river Eridanus rolls
through the

woods."

A peeon was chanted to Apollo

at Delphi every seventh day.

Eleusinian and

96

the same time denominated phirimus (great
est), because a great part of it was absorbed

from thence
the symbol of life, and conse

in the earth without emerging
for a river is

:

quently signifies in this place the intellectual
or spiritual life, proceeding from on high, that

from divinity itself, and gliding with pro
lific energy through the hidden and profound

is,

recesses of the sou^.

In the following lines he says
Nulli certa domus.

Biparumque

:

Lucis habitamus opacis,

toros, et prata recentia rivis

Incolinms.*

the blessed not being confined to a par
ticular habitation, is implied that they are

By

perfectly free in all things
free

from

;

being entirely

material restraint, and purified
inclination incident to the dark
all

from all
and cold tenement of the body.

The shady

groves are symbols of the retiring of the
*

"

No

one of us has a fixed abode.

We inhabit the dark groves,

and occupy couches on the river-banks, and meadows fresh with
little

rivulets."

Bacchic Mysteries.

97

soul to the depth of her essence,

and

there,

solely divine, establishing herself
in the ineffable principle of things.* And

by energy
the

meadows

are

symbols of that

prolific

power of the gods through which all the
variety of reasons, animals, and forms was
produced, and which is here the refresh
ing pasture and retreat of the liberated
soul.

But that the communication of the knowl
edge of the principles from which the soul
descended formed a part of the sacred

Mys

from Virgil and that this
was accompanied with a vision of these prin
ciples or gods, is no less certain, from the

teries is evident

;

testimony of Plato, Apuleius, and Proclus.
The first part of this assertion is evinced by
the following beautiful lines
*

PLATO:

knowledge
ciple of

Republic, vi.
is

being

5.

"He

who

:

possesses the love of true

naturally carried in his aspirations to the real prin
;

and

his love

knows no repose

till it

shall

have been

united with the essence of each object through that part of the soul,

which

akin to the Permanent and Essential

and

so,

the divine

conjunction having evolved interior knowledge and

truth, the

is

knowledge of being is

won."

;

Eleusinian and

98

Principio casluni ac terras, camposque liquentes

Lucentemque globum
Spiritus intus

Mens
Inde

alit,

Titaniaque astra

luuse,

totumque infusa per artus

agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.
hominum peeudumque genus, vitseque volantum,

Et qu8B marmoreo
Igneus est

fert

monstra sub sequore pontus.

ollis vigor, et cselestis

origo

Seminibus, quantum non noxia corpora tardant,

Terrenique hebetant artus, moribundaque membra.

Hinc metuunt cupiuntque

:

dolent,

gaudentque

:

neque auras

Despiciunt clausa tenebris et carcere caeco.*

For the sources

of the soul s existence are

from which it fell; and
these, as we may learn from the Timmis of
Plato, are the Demiurgus, the mundane soul,
and the junior or mundane gods.f Now, of
also the principles

*

"

First of all the interior spirit sustains the

heaven and earth

and watery plains, the illuminated orb of the moon, and the Titanian stars and the Mind, diffused through all the members, gives
;

energy to the whole frame, and mingles with the vast body [of the
universe].

Thence proceed the race of men and beasts, the vital
and the brutes which the Ocean breeds beneath

souls of birds
its

smooth surface.

In them

all

is

a potency like

fire,

and a

celestial origin as to the

rudimentary principles, so far as they
are not clogged by noxious bodies. They are deadened by earthly
forms and members subject to death hence they fear and desire,
;

grieve and rejoice

nor do they, thus enclosed in darkness and
the gloomy prison, behold the heavenly
;

air."

t

Timceus.

divine;

xliv.

"

The Deity (Demiurgus) himself formed the

and then delivered over

to his celestial offspring [the

99

Bacchic Mysteries.
these, the

mundane

intellect,

which, accord

ing to the ancient theology, is represented
by Bacchus, is principally celebrated by the

and

poet,

this because the soul is particu

larly distributed into generation, after the

manner of Dionysus

or Bacchus, as

is

evident

from the preceding extracts from Olympiodorus and is still more abundantly confirmed
by the following curious passage from the
:

same author, in his comment on the Phcedo of
"

Plato.

The

says he,

descends Cori-

manner

of Proserpine]

"

soul,"

cally [or after the

into generation,* but is distributed into gen

and she is bound in
body PrometheiacallyJ and Titanically she
frees herself therefore from its bonds by ex
eration Dionysiacally,f

:

ercising the strength of Hercules; but she
subordinate or generated gods], the task of creating the mortal.

These subordinate

deities, copying the example of their parent,
and receiving from his hands the immortal principles of the human
soul, fashioned after this the mortal body, which they consigned

to the soul as a vehicle,

kind of a soul, which

and

in

which they placed also another
is the seat of violent and fatal

is

mortal, and

if

dying.

passions."

*

That

is

to say, as

as

\ I. e.

Chained

if

Kore was a name of Proserpina.

divided into pieces.

t /. e.

fast.

100

JEleusinian

and

collected into one through the assistance

is

and the savior Minerva, by phi
losophical discipline of mind and heart purify
of Apollo

f

ing the

Cht

nature."

(j-spiCs

<j>u/7]

Ysveosaxr

T(O ovtc

5s,

TCO

Ausi

The

tpiXooo<poi)oa.

JJ.EV

when he

oov

poet, however,

intimates the other causes of the soul
tence,

cat

*ai Trca-

npoti/qftetcoc

aa^onr

yevsatv

BIC,

s

Aiovooiatt(jo

7)

TTJC

(isv

y.opi-x.oK

s exis

says,

Igneus est

Seminibus

ollis vigor, et ccelestis
*

which evidently alludes

origo

the solving of
souls into generation,! mentioned in the
And from hence the reader will
Timceus.
*

"

then a certain fiery potency, and a celestial origin
rudimentary principles." I. e. Restored to wholeness

There

as to the

and divine

is

life.

tl Corinthians, xv. 42-44.
dead.

It is

sown

in incorruption
is

:

it is

"So

also is the anastasis of the

in corruption [the material body]
it is

sown in weakness

"body ;

to

;

sown
it is

in dishonor;

raised in

raised a spiritual

body."

power

it is
:

;

it is

raised

raised in glory:

it is

it

sown a psychical

Bacchic Mysteries.
easily perceive the

101

extreme ridiculousness of

system, that the grand secret
of the Mysteries consisted in exposing the
errors of Polytheism, and in teaching the

Dr. Warburton

s

doctrine of the unity, or the existence of one
For he might as well have said,
deity alone.

that the great secret consisted in teaching a
man how, by writing notes on the works of

a poet, he might become a bishop ! But it
is by no means wonderful that men who

have not the smallest conception of the true
nature of the gods; who have persuaded
themselves that they were only dead men
understand
deified; and who measure the
should be
ings of the ancients by their own,
led to fabricate a system so improbable and
absurd.

was accompanied
with a vision of the source from which the
soul proceeded, is evident from the express

But that

this instruction

of Apuleius,
testimony, in the first place,
who thus describes his initiation into the
et

Accessi confinium mortis;
Mysteries.
calcato Proserpina limine, per omnia vectus
"

elementa remeavi.

Nocte media vidi solem

102

,

Eleusinian and

candido coruscantem lumine, deos inferos, et
deos superos.
Access! coram, et adoravi de
*

That

proximo."

confines of death

"I

is,

:

approached the

and having trodden on

the threshold of Proserpina returned, haying
been carried through all the elements. In
the depths of midnight I saw the sun glitter
ing with a splendid light, together with the
infernal

and supernal gods

divinities

of devout

and to these

:

approaching near, I paid the tribute

And

adoration."

this is

no

less

evidently implied by Plato, who thus de
scribes the felicity of the holy soul prior to
its

descent, in a beautiful allusion to the

arcane visions of the Mysteries.
TO"

YJV

i8stv

ois

Xaji/rcpov,

/opa) |jia%apiav c^iv TS %at ftsav
|j.v Aioc

i?]|Xtc,

auv

soSaijiovi

STCOJJ.SVOI

aXXot 8s (isr aXXou

TS %ai STsXoo.vTO TsXsicov

KaAXoc

YJV ^Sjit^

{Asia

^-scov,

Xsystv

pwotaTTjv YJV opyiaCojASV oXo%)^pot [isv
OVTSC, %at a^afl-st^ xaxcov oaa YJ JJLOLC sv 6atsp(p
Xpovcp 67Ujivsv.
OXpxX^pa s Teat dirXa
sooacjiova
vc

v

The Golden Ass.

cpaajiata

aoyYj
xi. p.

JJLOG^JJISVOI

xafl-apqjL
239 (BoJin).

103

Bacchic Mysteries.
TOUTOU

t,

6

vov

OaTpSOU

OVO(X7.CO[J.SV

YJ

oo)|xa

TpOTTOV

OS

That is, But it was then law
ful to survey the most splendid beauty, when
we obtained, together with that blessed choir,
this happy vision and contemplation. And
"

we indeed enjoyed

this blessed spectacle to

gether with Jupiter but others in conjunc
tion with some other god at the same time
;

;

being initiated in those Mysteries, which it
is lawful to call the most blessed of all

And

Mysteries.

celebrated

by

these divine Orgies* were
us, while we possessed the

proper integrity of our nature, we were
freed from the molestations of evil which
otherwise await us in a future period of time.
Likewise, in
initiation,

consequence

we became

simple, immovable,

of

this

spectators

and

divine

of entire,

blessed visions, res

and were ourselves
pure and immaculate, being liberated from
this surrounding vestment, which we denom
inate body, and to which we are now bound

ident in a pure light

*

The peculiar

Orgies or Labors,

rites of the
teletai

;

Mysteries were indifferently termed

or finishings, and initiations.

104

Bacchic Mysteries.

an oyster to

like

its

Upon

shell."*

this

u

That the
epopteia [the vailing and the
revealing] are symbols of ineffable silence,
and of union with mystical natures, through
beautiful passage Proclus observes,

and

initiation

intelligible visions, f
*
t

is

Kat yap

TJ

[locate, xai

YJ

Phcedrus, 64.

PROCLUS

Theology of Plato, book

:

suggested:

"The

initiation

of the Ineffable Silence,

and

iv.

The following reading

and of the

final disclosing are a
enosis, or

symbol
being at one and

en rapport with the mystical verities through manifestations in
tuitively comprehended."

The

jxofjsis,

muesis, or initiation is

denned by E. Pococke as

well-known Buddhist Moksha, final and eternal
happiness, the liberation of the soul from the body and its exemp
tion from further transmigration." For all mystce therefore there
relating to the

"

was a certain welcome
cTioTTtEia,

rives

to the abodes of the blessed.

The term

epopteia, applied to the last scene of initiation,

from the Sanscrit,

evaptoi,

regarded as having secured for himself or herself divine
It is

more

he de

an obtaining; the epopt being
bliss.

usual, however, to treat these terms as pure Greek;

and to render the muesis as

initiation

and to derive epopteia from

According to this etymology an epopt is a seer or
srcoircojjiai.
The terms in
clairvoyant, one who knows the interior wisdom.
spector and superintendent do not, to me, at all express the idea,
I am inclined, in fact, to suppose with Mr. Pococke, that the
Mysteries came from the East, and from that to deduce that the

and

technical words and expressions are other than Greek.
Plotinus, speaking of this enosis or oneness, lays
discipline analogous to that of the Mystic Orgies

soul

from

all

down

a spiritual

"

:

Purify your

undue hope and fear about earthly things

;

mortify

Eleusiniau Mysteries.

Etruscan.

107

Bacchic Mysteries.
ou(j.[3oXov,

xca

VCTJTCOV
T(ov EVCOOECOC.
Now, from all this, it may be
inferred, that the most sublime part of the
ETCOTutsta

or final revealing, con

[epopteici]

sisted in beholding the gods themselves in
* and that
vested with a resplendent light
this was symbolical of those transporting
;

which the virtuous soul will con
stantly enjoy in a future state and of which
it is able to gain some ravishing glimpses,
even while connected with the cumbrous

visions,

;

vestment of the body.f
the body, deny self,

reduction of your soul to

you attain

this oneness.

who

ence of God,
soul."

*

and the inner

affections as well as appetites,

eye will begin to exercise its clear

and solemn

"

vision."

In the

simplest principles, the divine germ,
We stand then in the immediate pres

its

shines out from the profound depths of the

-A. W.

APULEIUS

:

The Golden

Ass. xi.

by the hierophant, and permitted

The candidate was instructed

to look within the cista or chest,

which contained the mystic serpent, the phallus, egg, and grains
sacred to Demeter. As the epopt was reverent, or otherwise, he

now

"knew himself"

by the sentiments aroused.

Plato and Al-

A. W.
cibiades gazed with emotions wide apart.
It is only now and then
Letter to Flaccus.
t PLOTINUS
"

that

:

we can enjoy

the elevation

made

limits
possible for us, above the

body and the world. I myself have realized
times as yet, and Porphyry hitherto not once."

of the

it

but three

108

Bacchic Mysteries.

But that this was actually the case, is
evident from the following unequivocal tes
timony of Proclus

Ev

:

arc

$so

of

rcoXXa
sc
TOV

3s

xai

<paivov~ar

aoKov icpopepXiQtai

TOTS

cptoc,

[xsv

TOTS

s^ av-

5s

TOTS

u
.

os

sec

ln

all

the initiations and Mysteries, the gods ex
hibit

many forms

of themselves,

in a variety of shapes
deed, a formless

:

*
light of

forth to the view

and appear

and sometimes, in
themselves

is

held

sometimes this light is
according to a human form, and sometimes
it proceeds into a different shape." t
This
;

assertion of divine visions in the Mysteries,

Porphyry afterward declared that he witnessed four times,

when near him,
to the First

the soul or

"

intellect

and Sovereign Good

;

"

of Plotinus thus raised

also that he himself

up
was only

once so elevated to the enosis or union with God, so as to have
This did not occur till he was

glimpses of the eternal world.
sixty-eight years of age.
*

/. e.

A.

W.

a luminous appearance without any denned form or shape

of an object.
t

Commentary upon

the Republic

of Plato, page 380.

Cupids, Satyr, aiid statue of Priapus.

Bacchic Mysteries.
clearly confirmed

Ill

And, in
short, that magical evocation formed a part
of the sacerdotal office in the Mysteries, and
that this was universally believed by all
is

Plotiiius.*

by

antiquity, long before the era of the latter
Platonists,f is plain

from the testimony

of

Hippocrates, or at least Democritus, in his
Treatise de Morbo Sacro.l For speaking of

who attempt

those

magic, he observes
pscv, *ai

Xaaaav
ipoira

sx

^av:a

For

down

yap
X

acpaviCstv,

eictSe^ovrat

TEAETQN,

ovrs^

si

T

JL(ova

C

^paatv

5 ja(5ccv

TOC

eitKJcao&ai, SITS

TS stvai

|ioi

J~

7>ac

!

SCTS 7,aL s$ aXXvj^ tivoc
ococ

by

oeXvjvYjv TS xaQai-

%ai y7]v, %ai r aXXa

arpovov

|X/,rr^
u

TJ/.IOV

:

to cure this disease

oc

Ta^ta

ys 5o%ooaL

x.

y

S

L

/.

e.

they profess themselves able to draw
the moon, to obscure the sun, to pro

if

duce stormy and pleasant weather, as like
wise showers of rain, and heats, and to render
the sea and earth barren, and to accomplish
*Entiead,
t

book 6; and

ix.

book

9.

Plotinus, Porphyry, lamblichus, Proclus, Longinus,

associates.
t

i.

Epilepsy.

and

their

Eleusinian and

112

every thing else of this kind
derive this knowledge

from

;

whether they

the Mysteries, or

from some other mental effort or meditation,
from the
they appear to me to be impious,
is
study of such concerns." From all which
egregiously Dr. Warburton
was mistaken, when, in page 231 of his Divine
that the light beheld
Legation, he asserts,

how

easy to see,

"

was nothing more than an
illuminated image which the priests had
in the Mysteries,

thoroughly

But he

purified."

is

likewise no less mistaken, in

of
transferring the injunction given in one
the Magic Oracles of Zoroaster, to the busi

ness of the Eleusinian Mysteries, and in per
admoni
verting the meaning of the Oracle s
tion.

For thus the Oracle speaks
Xsov]*;

"

is,

aoioirrov

as pXerceiv rcpiv ccojxa is
ypY) xs .voo?

Ou yap

That

:

Invoke not

of Nature, for you
things before your

the self-repealing

image

must not behold these

body has received the
Upon which he observes, that
"

initiation."

Bacchic Mysteries.
the self-revealing

shining

light,

113

image was only a diffusive

as the

name partly

declares."

*

But this is a piece of gross ignorance, from
which he might have been freed by an atten
tive perusal of Proclus

Plato
ries

:

we

on the Timcens of

for in these truly divine
"

learn,

that the

moonf

Commenta
the cause

is

of nature to mortals, and the
self-revealing
image of the fountain of nature." EeX
aiTca iocs d-VTjTOtc
TV]?
o jaa nrjc

xrjatac

desirous of

<poGcoc,

TO aotoxcov

If the reader is

<puaea>s.

knowing what we

are to under

stand by the fountain of nature of which the
moon is the image, let him attend to the fol

lowing information, derived from a long and
deep study of the ancient theology for from
hence I have learned, that there are
:

many

divine fountains contained in the essence of
the demiurgus of the world and that
;

among

these there are three of a very
distinguished
rank, namely, the fountain of souls, or Juno,

the fountain of virtues, or Minerva
*

and

Divine Legation, p. 231.

The Mother-Goddess, Isis or Demeter, symbolized as
Selene or the Moon.
t /. e.

Elemiwian and

114

the fountain of nature, or Diana.

This

last

fountain too immediately depends on the
vivifying goddess
by the Demiurgus

Rhea; and was assumed

among

the rest, as neces

of himself.
sary to the prolific* reproduction
And this information will enable us besides

to explain the

meaning

of the following pas

from not being
sages in Apuleius, which,
understood, have induced the moderns to
believe that Apuleius acknowledged but one
The first of these passages is
deity alone.
of the eleventh book of his
in the

beginning

the
Metamorphoses, in which the divinity of
moon is represented as addressing him in
this sublime

manner

"

:

En adsum tuis com-

mota, Luci, precibus, rerum Natura parens,
elementorum omnium domina, seculorum
progenies

initialis,

Manium, prima

summa numinum,

caelitum,

regina

Deorum Dearum-

que facies uniformis: quse

cseli

luminosa

deculmina, maris salubria flamina, inferorum
plorata silentia nutibus meis dispenso: cujus

numen unicum,

multiformi specie, ritu vario,
nomine multijugo totus veneratur orbis. Me

nominant
primigenii Phryges Pessinunticarn

Bacchic Mysteries.

Deum

115

Hinc Autochthones Attici
Cecropiam Minervam ilhnc fluctuant es Cymatrem.

;

Paphiam Venerem Cretes sagittif eri
Dictynnam Dianam Siculi trilingues Styprii

:

;

giam Proserpinam
Cererem: Junonem
;

Hecaten,

Eleusinii vetustam
alii,

Rhamnusiam

tis dei Solis

alii

alii.

Beam

Bellonam, alii
Et qui nascen-

inchoantibus radiis illustrantur,

^Ethiopes, Ariique, priscaque doctriiia pollentes ^Egyptii caerimoniis me prorsus propriis

percolentes appellant vero
Isidem."

That

nomine reginam

"

is,

Behold, Lucius,

with thy supplications, I

am

moved

present;

I,

who am

Nature, the parent of things, mis
tress of all the elements, initial progeny of
the ages, the highest of the divinities, queen
of departed spirits, the first of the celes
tials,

of all

and goddesses the sole likeness
who rule by my nod the luminous

of gods
:

heights of the heavens, the salubrious breezes
of the sea, and the wof ul silences of the in
fernal regions,

but one,

many

and whose

divinity, in itself

venerated by all the earth, in
characters, various rites, and different
is

appellations.

Hence the primitive Phry-

116

Bacchic Mysteries.

gians call me Pessinuntica, the mother of
the gods the Attic Autochthons, Cecropian
;

Minerva

wave- surrounded

the

;

Cyprians,

Paphian Venus the arrow-bearing Cretans,
Dictynnian Diana; the three-tongued Sicil
and the inhabit
ians, Stygian Proserpina
;

;

ants of Eleusis, the ancient goddess Ceres.
Some, again, have invoked me as Juno, others
as Bellona, others as Hecate,

Ehamiiusia

and others as

and those who are enlightened

:

by the emerging rays of the rising sun, the
^Ethiopians, and Aryans, and likewise the
Egyptians powerful in ancient

who

learning,

divinity with ceremonies per
true appellation
fectly proper, call me by

reverence

my

my

And, again, in another place of
Queen
Te
the same book, he says of the moon
Isis."

"

:

tu rotas
Superi colunt, observant Inferi
orbem, luminas Solem, regis mundum, calcas
Tartarum. Tibi respondent sidera, gaudent
:

numina, redeunt tempora, serviunt elementa,
That is, The supernal gods reverence
"

etc."

thee,

and those in the realms beneath

tentively do

dost

make

homage

to thy divinity.

at

Thou

the universe revolve, illuminate

119

Bacchic Mysteries.

the sun, govern the world, and tread on Tar
The stars answer thee, the gods re
tarus.

the hours and seasons return by thy
appointment, and the elements serve thee."

joice,

For all

this easily follows, if

we

consider

it

as

addressed to the fountain-deity of nature,
subsisting in the Demiurgus, and which is
the exemplar of that nature which flourishes
in the lunar orb, and throughout the mate
world, and from which the deity itself
of the moon originally proceeds.
Hence, as

rial

immediately depends on the
life-giving goddess Rhea, the reason is ob
vious, why it was formerly worshiped as the

this fountain

mother of the gods

:

and as

are contained in the

all

the

mundane

super-mundane gods,

the other appellations are to be considered as
names of the several mundane divinities pro
duced by this fountain, and in whose essence

they are likewise contained.
But to proceed with our inquiry, I

shall,

in the next place, prove that the different
purifications exhibited in these rites, in con

junction with initiation and the epopteia
were symbols of the gradation of disciplines

120

Eleusinian and

requisite to the reascent of the soul.*

the

And

indeed, of this proposition
the
respecting
purifications, immediately fol
lows from the testimony of Plato in the pas
first

part,

sage already adduced, in which he asserts
that the ultimate design of the Mysteries was
to lead us back to the principles from which

we

fell.

originally

symbolical, as
this

is

For if the Mysteries were
universally acknowledged,
of the purifica

must likewise be true

tions as a part of the Mysteries ; and as in
ward purity, of which the external is sym
bolical,

can only be obtained by the exercise

of the virtues,
purifications

it

were symbols of the purifying

moral virtues.
proposition

evidently follows that the

may

And

the latter part of the
be easily inferred, from the

passage already cited from the Phcedrus of
Plato, in

which he compares

the epopteia to the

initiation

and

blessed vision of the

higher intelligible natures; an employment
which can alone belong to the exercise of

But the whole of this is
contemplation.
rendered indisputable by the following re*/.

e.

to its former divine condition.

121

Bacchic Mysteries.

markable testimony of Olympiodorus, in his
excellent

manuscript Commentary on the

Phcedo of Plato.*
"

he,

"In

the sacred

says

rites,"

in the first
popular purifications are
as
brought forth, and after these such

place
are more arcane.

But, in the third place,
collections of various things into one are re
ceived

;

ethical

after

which follows

and

political

inspection.

^The

virtues therefore are

the
analogous to the apparent purifications
cathartic virtues which banish all external
;

the more arcane
impressions, correspond to
about
purifications.^ The theoretical energies
intelligibles, are

and
*

of
have taken the liberty to present the following version

this passage, as
:

;

the contraction of these energies into an

We

inal

analogous to the collections

"At

more correctly expressing the sense

these the more

of the orig

the public purifications. With
arcane exercises follow and after those the obliga

the holy places are

first

;

are taken, and the initiations follow, ending
(aostassi;)
and
with the epoptic disclosures. So, as will be seen, the moral

tions

social (political) virtues are analogous to the public purifications ;
of all
the purifying virtues in their turn, which take the place

external matters, correspond to the more arcane disciplines

contemplative

exercises concerning things to be

tively to the taking of the obligations

an undivided whole,

to the initiations

of simple objects to the epoptic

;

;

known

;

the

intui

the including of them as

and the simple ocular view

revelations."

Eleusinian and

122

indivisible nature, corresponds to initiation.

And

the simple

analogous to epoptic vision,

forms,

is

sv TOI

tspoic

Ei~a

asi.

/jfoovco

STTI

{J,V

tac, TOC^ s[x?pavai

aicooxeoaCovcat

aTuXat

ajxspLaiov

At 5s

T

tat^

dirXwv siocov aoio kai

TCOV

And

sTuoTCTetatc.

Ta S^TG^

ta voTjia

ts svspyscac tac^ aoaTaasaiv.

At 5s

AvaXo-

At 5s

Tuavia

TCspc

TO

0it

%at iroXiTtxai aps-

xafl-apiJio^.

^

C
".y

owcoppirjtotspaf (XSTCC 5s

Tjfl-txat

At

simple

at itav8iQ(iot xafl-ap-

sv TsXsi 5s STTOTUTSIOLI.

at

TOIVOV

(J-sv

Taorai

c*

oaat

of

self-inspection

here I can not refrain from

noticing, with indignation mingled with pity,

the ignorance and arrogance of modern crit
ics, who pretend that this distribution of the
virtues

is

entirely the invention of the latter

Platonists,

and without any foundation in the

And among the sup
ignorance, I am sorry to find

writings of Plato.*
porters of such
*

The writings

of Augustin

handed Neo-Platonism down

terity as the original and esoteric doctrine of the

of Plato.

He enumerates

first

to pos

followers

the causes which led, in his opinion, to

the negative position assumed by the Academics, and to the con-

123

Bacchic Mysteries.
r

Fabricius, in his prolegomena to the

life

of

For nothing can be more obvious

Proclus.

to every reader of Plato than that in his
Laivs he treats of the social and political

and seventh book of
the Republic, of the purifying; and in his
and subTliceatetus, of the contemplative

virtues

;

in his Phcedo,

This observation

limer virtues.

is,

indeed,

so obvious, in the Phcedo, with respect to the
virtues, that no one but a verbal

purifying
critic could read this dialogue and be insen
for Socrates in the very
sible to its truth
:

it is the
beginning expressly asserts that
business of philosophers to study to die, and

same

to be themselves dead,*

and yet

time reprobates suicide.

What then can such
He

cealment of their real opinions.
suscitated Plato.
*Phcedo, 21.
.Xo30
<p

YJ

-p-.a<;

r/
*(

P oao:

or.
XsXY]{hvca ta? aUouc,

aTcoftvrjaxeiv

describes Plotinus as a re

Against the Academics,

KivSovsoooai

is vcai isftvavai.

I. e.

at the

iii.

17-20.

wf/wow.v

OD^V aXXo

op&cog arctojAsvoi

auto-.

eittrrjSeooooiv

For as many as rightly apply

that
themselves to philosophy seem to have left others ignorant,
dead.
be
else than to die and to
they themselves aim at nothing
While we live, we shall ap
Elsewhere (31) Socrates says
if we hold no communion
proach nearest to intuitive knowledge,
nor suffer
with the body, except, what absolute necessity requires,
from
ourselves
ourselves to be pervaded by its nature, but purify
"

:

it

until

God himself

shall release

us."

124

Eleusiriian

a death

death

mean but

symbolical or philosophical
is this but the true ex

And what

I

ercise

and

of the virtues

which purify ? But
these poor men read only
superficially, or
for the sake of
displaying some critical
acumen in verbal emendations and
yet with
such despicable preparations for
philosoph
ical discussion,
they have the impudence to
oppose their puerile conceptions to the de
;

cisions of

men

of elevated genius and
pro
found investigation, who,
freed
from
happily

the danger and
drudgery of learning any
foreign language,* directed all their attention
without restraint to the acquisition of the

most exalted
\It only

now

truth.

remains that

we

prove, in the
the descent

last place, that a
representation of

of the soul

formed no inconsiderable part of

these mystic shows.
*

It is to

This, indeed, is doubt-

be regretted,
nevertheless, that our author had not

risked the

"danger and drudgery" of
learning Greek, so as to
have rendered fuller justice to his
subject, and been of greater

service to his readers. We are conscious
that those who are too
learned in verbal criticism are
prone to overlook the real purport
of the text.
A. W.

125

Bacchic Mysteries.

intimated by Virgil, when speak
of the blessed in Elysium, he
ing of the souls

less occultly

adds,
Has omnes, ubi mille rotam volvere per annos,
Lethaeum ad fluvium deus evocat agmine magno
Scilicet immemores supera ut convexa revisant,
Rursus

:

et incipiaiit in corpore velle reverti.*

But openly by Apuleius in the following
addresses to Ceres:
prayer which Psyche
Per ego te frugiferam tuam dextram istam
messium cserimonias,
deprecor, per Isetificas
tacita sacra cistarum, et per f amulorum
per

tuorum draconumpinnata curricula, et glebae.
et terSiculse fulcamina, et currum rapacem,

ram tenacem,

et

illuminarum

nuptiarum demeacula,

Proserpinse

et csetera quae silentio

Atticae sacrarium
tegit Eleusis,

;

miserandse

subsiste.f That
Psyches animse, supplicis tuae,
beseech thee, by thy fruit-bearing right
is,
"I

are

have passed away a thousand years,
in great array, to the Letheean river.
one
summoned by the divine
earth-life, and
In this way they become forgetful of their former
to return
the
again
of
willing
realms
world,
revisit the vaulted
*

"All

into
t

these, after they

bodies."

APULEIUS:

book

vi.

The Golden Ass. (Story of Cupid and Psyche),

126

Bacchic Mysteries.

hand, by the joyful ceremonies of harvest, by
the occult sacred rites of
thy cistee,* and

by

the winged car of thy
attending dragons, and
the furrows of the Sicilian soil, and the ra

pacious chariot (or car of the ravisher), and
the dark descending ceremonies
attending the

marriage of Proserpina, and the ascending
which accompanied the lighted return

rites

of

thy

which

and ly other arcana
daughter,
Eleusis the Attic
sanctuary conceals

in

profound silence, relieve the sorrows of
thy wretched suppliant Psyche.
For the
abduction of Proserpina signifies the descent
:

of the soul, as is evident

from the passage

previously adduced from Olympiodorus, in
which he says the soul descends
Corically f
and this is confirmed by the
authority of the
philosopher Sallust, who observes, That the
;

"

abduction of Proserpina is fabled to have
taken place about the opposite
equinoctial;

and by

this the descent of souls
[into earth-

*

Chests or baskets, made of
osiers, in which were enclosed the
mystical images and utensils which the uninitiated were not
per
mitted to behold.
1 7.

e.

as to death

analogously to the descent of
sephone to the Underworld.
;

Kore"-Per-

Ceres lends her ear to Triptolemus.

Proserpiiia aiid Pluto.

Jupiter augry.

Bacchic Mysteries.
is implied."

life]

7)

Kop7]

TTJS

6 STJ xaftoSoc

Flspt

129

youv rqv evavnav

cavj-

dpirayv] [AoftoXoysiTai ysvs3sa-i

twv

And

(J/o/CDV.*

as

the abduction of Proserpina was exhibited in
the dramatic representations of the Myste

from Apuleius,

as is clear

it

indisputa
that
this
the
descent
bly follows,
represented
of the soul, and its union with the dark tene
ries,

ment

of the body.
Indeed, if the ascent and
descent of the soul, and its condition while

connected with a material nature, were rep
resented in the dramatic shows of the Mys
teries, it is

evident that this

was implied by

Proserpina. And the former
part of this assertion is manifest from Apu

the rape of

leius,

when

describing his initiation, he says,

in the passage already adduced

:

"I

ap

proached the confines of death, and having
trodden on the threshold of Proserpina,

/

returned, having been carried through

the

And

elements"

as to the latter part,

all
it

has been amply proved, from the highest
authority, in the first division of this dis
course.
*

De

Diis et Mundo, p. 251.

EleMsinian and

130

Nor must the reader be disturbed on

find

ing that, according to Porphyry, as cited by
Eusebius,* the fable of Proserpina alludes to
seed placed in the ground for this is like
wise true of the fable, considered according
;

to its material explanation.

But

it

will be

proper on this occasion to rise a little higher,
and consider the various species of fables,
according to

ment

;

since

their

by

this

ject will receive

philosophical

arrange

means the present sub

an additional elucidation,

and the wisdom of the ancient authors of
fables will be vindicated from the unjust
aspersions of ignorant declaimers. I shall
present the reader, therefore, with the fol

lowing interesting division of fables, from
the elegant book of the Platonic philoso
pher Sallust, on the gods and the universe.

Of

some are theological,
says he,
others physical, others animastic (or relating
to soul), others material, and lastly, others
"

"

fables,"

mixed from these. Fables are theological
which relate to nothing corporeal, but contem
plate the very essences of the gods
*

Evang. Prcepar. book

iii.

chap.

2.

;

such as

Bacchic Mysteries.

131

the fable which asserts that Saturn devoured
his children

:

for

it

insinuates nothing

more

than the nature of an intellectual (or intu
itional) god since every such intellect returns
;

into

We regard fables physically when

itself.

we speak concerning

the operations of the
gods about the world as when considering
Saturn the same as Time, and calling the
;

parts of time the children of the universe, we
assert that the children are devoured by their

But we

parent.

utter fables in a spiritual

mode, when we contemplate the operations
of the soul because the intellections of our
;

souls,

though by a discursive energy they go

forth into other things, yet abide in their
parents.
Lastly, fables are material, such as

the Egyptians ignorantly employ, consider
ing and calling corporeal natures divinities

such as

:

humidity, Typhon,
or, again, denominating Saturn water,
Adonis, fruits, and Bacchus, wine. And, in
Isis, earth, Osiris,

heat

deed, to assert that these are dedicated to the
gods, in the

stones,

and

the part of wise men but to call
gods is alone the province of fools and

animals,

them

same manner as herbs,

is

;

Eleusinian and

132

madmen

;

unless

we speak

in the

same man

ner as when, from established custom, we call
the orb of the sun and its rays the sun itself.

But we may perceive the mixed kind
fables, as well in

when they

of

other particulars, as
relate that Discord, at a banquet

many

and that

of the gods, threw a golden apple,

a dispute about

the god
desses, they were sent by Jupiter to take the
judgment of Paris, who, charmed with the
it

arising

among

beauty of Venus, gave her the apple in pref
erence to the

rest.

For in

this fable

the

banquet denotes the super-mundane powers
of the gods and on this account they sub
sist in conjunction with each other
but the
;

:

golden apple denotes the world, which, on
account of its composition from contrary
natures, is not improperly said to be thrown

by Discord, or

strife.

But

again, since dif

ferent gifts are imparted to the world by dif
ferent gods, they appear to contest with each

other for the apple. And a soul living ac
cording to sense (for this is Paris), not per
ceiving other powers in the universe, asserts
that the apple is alone the beauty of Venus.

133

Bacchic Mysteries.

of these species of fables, such as are

But

the phys
theological belong to philosophers
but the mixed to
ical and spiritual to poets
;

;

the

of the

first

since the
to

is

far
it is

serpina,

properly

from

all

rites

us

with

the

world

in

;

and

the

from
evident, that the fable of Pro
the

excellent

Sallust

:

as belonging to the Mysteries, is
of a mixed nature, or composed

the four species of fables, the theo

or psychical],
logical [spiritual

But

(teXstatc)

intention of all mystic ceremonies

conjoin

Thus
whence

initiatory

order

to

and material.

understand this divine

fable, it is requisite to

know, that according

to the arcana of the ancient theology, the
Coric * order (or the order belonging to
.

Proserpina)

is

twofold, one part of which

is

or
super-mundane, subsisting with Jupiter,
the Demiurgus, and thus associated with him

establishing one artificer of divisible natures;
but the other is mundane, in which Proser*

Coric from KopYj, Kore, a

name

of Proserpina.

derived by E. Pococke from the Sanscrit Goure.

The name

is

Eleusinian and

134

by Pluto, and

said to be ravished

is

pina

animate the extremities, of the
"

"

says Proclus,

Hence,"

to

universe.

according to the

statement of theologists, who delivered to
us the most holy Mysteries, she [Proserpina]
abides on high in those dwellings of her
mother which she prepared for her in inac
cessible

exempt from the

places,

sensible

But she likewise dwells beneath

world.

with Pluto, administering

terrestrial

con

cerns, governing the recesses of the earth,
life

supplying

to the extremities of the uni

and imparting soul to beings which
are rendered by her inanimate and dead."

verse,

Kai yap
caras
T(OV,

TCOV ^-soXcycov

TJ

YjjJLtv

aVO),

sv

TOOC

[1V

YV]^

TCOV

.^

^o^>

rcap

JHence we

^OLVTO^.

/^ovccov

^^

Katco Ss

eirap/stv,

TlCTpO^DlV,

[Jl^ODC

s^atotc
tote

ta^ dyico-

V

aOTYjV

nXcoTcovcc
TYJC

TCOV

EXsoaivi u

sv apaioic s^pTjjisvo^c
(jtsTa

cpY]jji7],

%Ctt

icavtoc?

saotcov

may

easily perceive that

PROCLUS: Theology of

Plato, p. 371.

135

Bacchic Mysteries.

mixed kind, one part of
which relates to the super-mundane establish
ment of the secondary cause of life,* and the
this fable is of the

other to the procession or outgoing of life
and soul to the farthest extremity of things.,/
Let us therefore more attentively consider
the fable, in that part of it which is sym
bolical of the descent of souls in order to
;

which,

it

will be

requisite to premise

an

abridgment of the arcane discourse, respecting
the wanderings of Ceres, as preserved by
the
Minutius Felix.
Proserpina," says he,
"

"

daughter of Ceres by Jupiter, as she was
gathering tender flowers, in the new spring,

was ravished from her delightful abodes by
and being carried from thence
Pluto
through thick woods, and over a length of
sea, was brought by Pluto into a cavern,
;

the residence of departed spirits, over whom
she afterward ruled with absolute sway. But
*

Plotinus taught the existence of three hypostases in the Divine

There was the Demiurge, the God of Creation and
Providence the Second, the Intelligible, self-contained and im

Nature.

;

mutable Source of

life

;

and above

Zervane Akercne of the Persians,

an Absolute Love

"

Intellect."

is

all,

above

A.

W.

the One,
all
f

who

like the

Being, a pure will,

Bacchic Mysteries.

136

J

upon discovering the loss of her daugh
ter, with lighted torches, and begirt with a
serpent, wandered over the whole earth for
the purpose of finding her till she came to
Eleusis there she found her daughter, and
Ceres,

;

also taught to the Eleusinians the cultivation

of

1

corn.""

Now in

this fable Ceres represents

the evolution of that intuitional part of our
nature which we properly denominate intel
lect*

(or the

unfolding of the intuitional

faculty of the mind from its quiet and col
lected condition in the world of thought)

;

and Proserpina that living, self-moving, and
animating part which we call soul. But lest
comparing of unfolded intellect to Ceres
should seem ridiculous to the reader, unac
quainted with the Orphic theology, it is neces

this

sary to inform him that this goddess, from
her intimate union with Rhea, in conjunc
tion with whom she produced Jupiter, is
*

Also denominated by Kant, Pure reason, and by Prof. Cocker,
It was considered by Plato, as
not amenable to

Intuitive reason.

"

the conditions of time and space, but in a particular sense, as

dwelling in eternity

:

and therefore capable of beholding eternal

realities, and coming into communion with absolute beauty, and
that is, with God, the Absolute Being."
goodness, and truth

Proserpina.

Ceres.

Greek.

Roman.

Bacchus.

Demeter.

India.

Etruscan.

139

Bacchic Mysteries.

evidently of a Saturnian and zoogonic, or in
and hence, as we
tellectual and vivific rank
;

are

informed by the philosopher Sallust,
the

among

mundane

divinities

she

is

the

deity of the planet Saturn.* So that in con
sequence of this, our intellect (or intuitive

descending state must aptly
But
symbolize with the divinity of Ceres.
Pluto signifies the whole of a material

faculty) in a

nature

;

since the empire of this god, accord

ing to Pythagoras, commences
from the Galaxy or milky way.

downward

And

the

cavern signifies the entrance, as it were, into
the profundities of such a nature, which is

accomplished by the soul
terrestrial

body.

But

in

s

union with this
order to

under-

derstand perfectly the secret meaning of the
other parts of this fable, it will be necessary
to give a

more

explicit detail of the particu

lars attending the abduction,
tiful

poem

of Claudian

from the beau

on this subject.

From

Hence we may perceive the reason why Ceres as well as Sat
urn was denominated a legislative deity; and why illuminations
*

were used in the celebration of the Saturnalia, as well as in the
Eleusinian Mysteries.

140

Bacchic Mysteries.

this elegant production

who was

learn that Ceres,
violence should be

some
Proserpina, on account

afraid lest

offered to

we

of her in

imitable beauty, conveyed her privately to
Sicily, and concealed her in a house built on

purpose by the Cyclopes, while she herself
directs her course to the temple of Cybele,
the mother of the gods. Here, then, we see
the first cause of the soul s descent, namely,
the abandoning of a life wholly according to
the higher intellect, which is occultly signi
fied

by the separation

Ceres.

Venus

from

we

are told that Jupiter
to go to this abode, and be

Afterward,

instructs

of Proserpina

tray Proserpina from her retirement, that
Pluto may be enabled to carry her away;

and

to prevent

any suspicion

in the virgin s

mind, he commands Diana and Pallas to go

The three goddesses arriving,
find Proserpina at work on a scarf for her
mother in which she had embroidered the
primitive chaos, and the formation of the
world.
Now by Venus in this part of the
narration we must understand desire, which
in

company.

;

even in the

celestial regions (for

such

is

the

Venus, Diana, and Pallas

visit Proserpina.

143

Bacchic Mysteries.
residence of Proserpina

Phi to), begins

silently

she

till

and

is

ravished by

stealthily to creep

into the recesses of the soul.

By Minerva

we must

conceive the rational power of the
and by Diana, nature, or the merely

sold,

natural and vegetable part of our composi
tion both which are now ensnared through
;

And

the allurements of desire.

lastly,

the

which Proserpina had displayed all
the fair variety of the material world, beau

web

in

tifully represents the

commencement

of the

through which the soul
becomes ensnared with the beauty of imagi
illusive operations

native forms.
to the poet

s

But

let

us for a while attend

elegant description of her

ployment and abode:
Devenere locum, Cereris quo tecta iiitebant
Cyclopum firmata manu. Stant ardua ferro
Mgenia

;

immensaque nectit
Nullum tanto sudore Pyracmon,

ferrati postes

Claustra ehalybs.

:

Nee Steropes, construxit opus
Spiravere notis animae

:

:

nee talibus

unquam

nee flumine tanto

Incoctum maduit lassa fornaee metallum.
Atria vestit ebur

:

trabibus solidatur aenis

Culmen, et in eelsas surgunt electra eolumnas.
cantu
Ipsa domura tenero nmlcens Proserpina
Irrita

texebat rediturae munera matri.

Hie elementoruin

seriein sedesque pateruas

em

144

Eleusinian and
Insignibat aeu

veterem qua lege tumultum

:

Discrevit natura parens, et semina justis

Discessere locis

In

medium

quidquid leve f ertur in altum

:

graviora cadunt

Egit flamma polum

Nee

color

unus

:

fluxit

inest.

:

ineanduit tether

mare

:

:

:

terra pependit

Stellas accendit in auro.

Ostro fundit aquos, attollit litora gemmis,

Filaque mentitos jam jam caelantia fluctus
Arte tument. Credas illidi cautibus algam,

Et raueum bibulis inserpere murmur arenis.

Addit quinque plagas

mediam subtemine rubro

:

Obsessam fervore notat

squalebat adustus
Limes, et assiduo sitiebant stamina sole.
Vitales utrimque duas

Temperies habitanda

;

:

quas mitis oberrat
Turn fine supremo

viris.

Torpentes traxit geminas, brumaque perenni
Fsedat, et aaterno contristat frigore telas.

Nee non

et patrui pingit sacraria Ditis,

Fatalesque sibi manes.
Prsescia

After
ent

s

this,

nam

Nee def uit omen.

subitis madtierunt fletibus ora.

Proserpina, forgetful of her par

commands,

represented as venturing
from her retreat, through the treacherous
is

persuasions of Venus:
Impulit Jonios pnemisso lumine fluctus

Nondum pura

dies

:

tremulis vibravit in undis

Ardor, et errantes ludunt per caarula flammse.

Jamque audax

animi, fidaeque oblita parentis,

Fraude Dionaaa riguos Proserpina saltus
(Sic Parcaa voluere) petit.

Bacchic Mysteries.

And

with the greatest propriety: for

this

oblivion necessarily follows a remission of
intellectual action, and is as necessarily at

tended with the allurements of desire.*
is
*

Nor

her dress less symbolical of the acting of
When

the person turns the back

upon

his higher faculties,

and

disregards the communications which he receives through them
from the world of unseen realities, an oblivion ensues of their
existence,

and the person is next brought within the province and
and worldly ambitions, such as a love of power,

operation of lower

passion for riches, sensual pleasure, etc.

life

This

is

a descent,

fall,

a separation from the sources of divine

or apostasy of the soul,

and ravishment into the region

of moral death.

In the Phwdrus, in the allegory of the Chariot and

Winged

Steeds, Plato represents the lower or inferior part of man s nature
as dragging the soul down to the earth, and subjecting it to the

slavery of corporeal conditions.
arise

numerous

evils, that

Out

disorder the

of these conditions there

mind and becloud

son, for evil is inherent to the condition of finite

the rea

and multiform

fallen by our own fault." The pres
and a punishment. The soul is now
the grave which we call the body." In its incorpo
dwelling in
rate state, and previous to the discipline of education, the rational

being into which
ent earthly

life

we have

is

a

"

fall

"

element

Men

is

"

"

asleep."

Life

is

more

of a

dream than a

are utterly the slaves of sense, the sport of

illusions.

raneous

We now resemble

cave,"

those

"

reality."

phantoms and

captives chained in a subter

so poetically described in the seventh book of The

Republic; their backs are turned to the light, and consequently

they see but the shadows of the objects which pass behind them,
and they attribute to these shadows a perfect reality." Their
"

sojourn upon earth

dreamy

exile

is

thus a dark imprisonment in the body, a

from their proper

home."

Cocker

s

Greek Philosophy.

Eleusinian and

146

the soul in such a state, principally according
to the energies and promptings of imagina

and nature.

For thus her garments
beautifully described by the poet
tion

are

:

Quas inter Cereris

Mox

proles,

nunc

gloria matris,

dolor, sequali tendit per

gramina passu,
Nee membris nee honore minor potuitque
;

Pallas,

si

clipeum,

Collectae tereti

ferret spicula, Plioebe.

nodantur jaspide vestes.

Pectinis ingenio

nunquam

Contigit eventus.
Fila,

si

felicior arti

Nullse sic consona telge

nee in tantum veri duxere figuram.

Hie Hyperionis Solem de sernine nasci
Fecerat, et pariter, sed forma dispare lunam,
Aurora? noctisque duces.

Cunabula Tethys

Prrabet, et infantes gremio solatur anhelos,

Caaruleusque sinus roseis radiatur alumnis.

Invalidum dextro portat Titana lacerto
luce gravem, nee pubescentibus alte

Nondum

Cristatum radiis
Fingitur, et

primo clementior aevo
tenerum vagitu despuit ignem.
:

LsBva parte soror vitrei libamina potat
Uberis, et parvo signatur tempora cornu.

In which description the sun represents the
phantasy, and the moon, nature, as is well
known to every tyro in the Platonic philos
ophy.

They

are likewise, with great pro

priety, described in their infantine state

:

for

147

Bacchic Mysteries.

these energies do not arrive to perfection
previous to the sinking of the soul into the
dark receptacle of matter. After this we be

hold her issuing on the plain with Minerva
and Diana, and attended by a beauteous

nymphs, who are evident symbols of
world of generation,* and are, therefore, the

train of

proper companions of the soul about to

fall

into its fluctuating realms.

But the design of Proserpina, in venturing
from her retreat, is beautifully significant of
her approaching descent: for she rambles
from home for the purpose of gathering
flowers and this in a lawn replete with the
;

most enchanting variety, and exhaling the
most delicious odors. This is a manifest
image of the soul operating principally ac
cording to the natural and external life, and
so

becoming

effeminated

and

ensnared

through the delusive attractions of sensible
form.

Minerva (the rational faculty in

case), likewise gives herself
*

PORPHYRY:

signified a bride.

Cave of

the

Nymphs.

this

wholly to the

In the. later Greek,

Eleusinian and

148

dangerous employment, and abandons the
proper characteristics of her nature for the
destructive revels of desire.

All which

is

thus described with the ut

most elegance by the poet
Forma
Parvo

loci

superat flores

:

:

curvata tumore

planities, et mollibus edita clivis

Creverat in eollem.

Vivo de pumice fontes

Roscida mobilibus lambebant gramina
Silvaque torrentes

ramorum

Temperat, et medio

Apta

brumam

rivis.

frigore soles
sibi vindicat aestu.

accomoda cornus,

fretis abies, bellis

Quercus amica Jovi, tumulos tectura cupressus,
Ilex plena favis, venturi prosscia laurus.

Fluctuat hie denso crispata cacumine buxus,

Hie ederee serpunt, hie pampinus induit ulmos.

Haud

procul inde lacus (Pergum dixere Sicani)

Panditur, et

nemorum

Vicinis pallescit aquis

frondoso margine cinctus
:

admittit in altum

Cernentes oculos, et late pervius humor
Ducit inoffensus liquido sub gurgite visus,

Imaque perspicui prodit secreta profundi.

Hue elapsa cohors gaudent per florea rura
Hortarur Cytherea, legant. Nunc ite, sorores,

Dum matutinis prsesudat solibus aer
Dum meus humectat flaventes Lucifer
:

Rotanti prasvectus equo.
Carpit signa

sui.

Invasere cohors.

agros,

Sic fata, doloris

Varies turn csetera saltus

Credas examina fundi

Hyblseum raptura thymum, cum cerea reges

149

Bacchic Mysteries.
Castra movent, fagique cava demissus ab alvo
Mellifer electis exercitus obstrepit herbis.

Pratorum spoliatur honos. Hae lilia f uscis
Intexit violis hauc rnollis amaracus ornat

:

:

Hsec graditur stellata rosis

Te quoque

;

haec alba

flebilibus meerens,

Narcissumque metunt, nunc
Proestantes olirn pueros.

inelita

Tu

ligustris.

Hyacinthe,

figuris,

germina

natus Amyclis

veris,
:

Hunc Helicon genuit. Te disci perculit error
Hunc fontis decepit amor. Te fronte retusa
Deluis,

hunc fracta Cephissus arundine

:

luget.

^JEstuat ante alias avido fervore legendi

Frugifera3 spes

una

Deae.

Nunc vimine

texto

Ridentes calathos spoliis agrestibus implet

Nunc

:

sociat flores, seseque ignara corouat.

Augurium fatale tori. Quin ipsa tubarum
Armorumque potens, dextram qua fortia turbat

Agmina

Jam

;

qua stabiles portas

et raeenia vellit,

levibus laxat studiis, hastamque reponit,

Insolitisque docet

galeam mitescere

sertis.

Ferratus lascivit apex, horrorque recessit
Martius, et cristse pacato fulgure vernant.

Nee

quBB

Parthenium canibus scrutatur odorem,

Aspernata choros, libertatemque comarum
Injecta tantum voluit frenare corona.

But there is a circumstance relative to the
narcissus which must not be passed over in
silence

:

I

mean its

being, according to Ovid,

the metamorphosis of a youth who fell a
victim to the love of his own corporeal

form; the secret meaning of which most

150

Bacchic Mysteries.

admirably accords with the rape of Proser
pina, which, according to

Homer, was the

immediate consequence of gathering this
wonderful flower.* vFor by Narcissus falling
in love with his shadow in the limpid stream

we may behold an

exquisitely apt represen
tation of a soul vehemently gazing on the
flowing condition of a material body, and in

conseqiience of
with a corporeal

becoming enamored
which is nothing more

this,
life,

than the delusive image of the true man, or
the rational and immortal soul. Hence, by
an immoderate attachment to this unsubstan
tial

real

mockery and gliding semblance of the
soul, such an one becomes, at length,

wholly changed, as far as

is

possible to his

nature, into a vegetive condition of being,
into a beautiful but transient flower, that is,
into a corporeal
*

HOMER: Hymn

life,

to Ceres.

flowers, the beauteous crocus,

or a

"We

life totally consist-

were plucking the pleasant
Iris, and hyacinth, and the

and the

narcissus, which, like the crocus, the wide earth produced.

plucking them with joy,

when

the earth

I was
yawned beneath, and out

leaped the Strong King, the Many-Eeceiver, and went bearing me,
grieving much, beneath the earth in h.is golden chariot, and I
cried

aloud."

Proserpina gathering Flowers.

Pluto carrying

off

Proserpina.

153

Bacchic Mysteries.

ing in the mere operations of nature. Pro
serpina, therefore, or the soul, at the very
instant of her descent into matter,

is,

with

the utmost propriety, represented as eagerly
engaged in plucking this fatal flower for
;

her faculties at this period are entirely oc
cupied with a life divided about the fluctuat
ing condition of bodyJ

After

his

passage
on
seizes
the
Proserpina,
earth,
through
and carries her away with him, notwith
this,

Pluto,

forcing

standing the resistance of Minerva and
Diana. They, indeed, are forbid by Jupiter,

who

in this place signifies Fate, to attempt
her deliverance. By this resistance of Mi

nerva and Diana no more

is signified

than

that the lapse of the soul into a material
nature is contrary to the genuine wish and

proper condition, as well of the corporeal life
depending on her essence, as of her true and
rational nature.
soul, in

Well, therefore,

may

the

such a situation, pathetically exclaim

with Proserpina

:

154

Bacchic Mysteries.
O male

despectaque matris
Veneris deprensse serius artes

dileeti flores,

Consilia

:

O

*
!

But, according to Minutius Felix, Proserpina
was carried by Pluto through thick woods,
cavern, the residence of

and brought into a
the dead where by

woods a material nature

is

and over a length of

sea,

:

plainly implied, as
have already observed in the first part of

we

and where the reader may
likewise observe the agreement of the de

this discourse;

scription in this particular with that of Vir

the descent of his hero

gil in

Tenent media omnia

:

silvce

Coeytusque sinuque labens, circumvenit atro.t

In these words the woods are expressly
mentioned; and the ocean has an evident

agreement with Cocytus, signifying the out
flowing condition of a material nature, and
the sorrows and sufferings attending
nection with the soul.
*

Oh

Oh
"

t

flowers fatally dear, and the mother

cruel arts of cunning

Woods cover

surrounds

it

all

s

its

con

cautions despised

:

Venus!

the middle space and Cocytus gliding on,

with his dusky

bosom."

Bacchic Mysteries.

157

Pluto hurries Proserpina into the infernal
in other words, the soul is sunk
regions
:

into the profound depth

material nature.

and darkness of a

A description of

her mar

riage next succeeds, her union with the dark

tenement of the body
Jam

:

suus inferno proeesserat Hesperus orbi

Dueitur in thalamum virgo.
Stellaiites

Nox

Stat pronuba juxta

picta sinus, tangensque cubile

Omina perpetuo

genitalia federe sancit.

Night is with great beauty and propriety in
troduced as standing by the nuptial couch,

and confirming the oblivious league. For
the soul through her union with a material
body becomes an inhabitant of darkness, and
in conse
subject to the empire of night
quence of which she dwells wholly with de
;

lusive

phantoms, and

till

she breaks her

fetters is deprived of the intuitive percep

tion of that

which

is real

and

true.

In the next place, we are presented with
the following beautiful and pathetic descrip
tion of Proserpina appearing in a dream to

Eleusinian and

158
Ceres,

and bewailing her captive and miser

able condition

:

ipsa, sui jam non ambagibus
materna
facies ingesta sopori.
Nuntia,

Sed tune

Namque

ullis

videbatur tenebroso obtecta recessu

Carceris, et saevis Proserpina vincta catenis,

Non qualem

roseis

Suspexere Deae.
Csesaries, et

nuper convallibus ^tnee

Squalebat pulchrior auro

nox oculorum infecerat

Exhaustusque gelu pallet rubor.

Flammeus

Membra

oris honos, et

ignes.

Ille

superbi

non cessura pruinis

colorantur picei ealigine regni.

Ergo hanc ut dubio vix tandem agnoscere visu
Evaluit

Unde
In

me

:

cujus tot paenae criminis

haec inf ormis macies
saevitiae

Vix aptanda
Tu,

mea

est?

f eris

tu proles

?

?

inquit.

Cui tanta f acultas

Rigid! cur vincula ferri

molles meruere lacerti
?

An vana

fallimur

?

umbra

?

Such, indeed, is the wretched situation of
the soul when profoundly merged in a cor
poreal nature. She not only becomes captive

and
dor

;

she

is

but loses

all

and the sharpness of her rational sight
blunted and dimmed through the thick

ter
is

her original splen
defiled with the impurity of mat

fettered,

;

darkness of a material night. The reader
may observe how Proserpina, being repre
sented as confined in the dark recess of a

159

Bacchic Mysteries.
prison,

and bound with

fetters,

confirms the

explanation of the fable here given as sym
bolical of the descent of the soul for such,
as we have already largely proved, is the
;

condition of the soul from

its

union with the

body, according to the uniform testimony of
the most ancient philosophers and priests.*

After

this,

the wanderings of Ceres for the

discovery of Proserpina commence.
described,

a serpent,

is

by Minutius Felix, as begirt with
and bearing two lighted torches in

but by Claudian, instead of being
with a serpent, she commences her

her hands
girt

She

;

search by night in a car drawn by dragons.
But the meaning of the allegory is the same
in each for both a serpent and a dragon are
;

emblems of a divisible life subject
tions and changes, with which, in

to transi
this case,

our intellectual (and diviner) part becomes
since as these animals put off
connected
:

their
*

skins,

Mantels,

jAaviEi?,

not

Ispsi?.

The term

is

again,

so

more commonly trans

and actually signifies persons gifted with divine
through being in an entheastic condition, called also mania

lated prophets,
insight,

and become young

or divine fury.

160

Bacchic Mysteries.

the divisible
generation,

is

life

of the

soul, falling into

rejuvenized in

its

subsequent

But what emblem can more beau
represent the evolutions and out

career.
tifully

goings of an intellectual nature into the
regions of sense than the wanderings of

Ceres by the light of torches through the
darkness of night, and continuing the pursuit
until she proceeds into the depths of

For the

itself ?

when

Hades

intellectual part of the soul,*

verges towards body, enkindles, in
deed, a light in its dark receptacle, but be
it

comes

itself situated in

obscurity:

and, as

Proclus somewhere divinely observes, the
mortal nature by this means participates of
the divine intellect, but the intellectual part
is

drawn down

to death.

The

tears

and lam

entations too, of Ceres, in her course, are
bolical

sym

both of the providential operations of

X
V *

"The

soul is a composite nature,

is

on one side linked to the

essence being generated of that .ineffable ele
ment which constitutes the real, the immutable, and the perma
eternal world,

nent.

It is a

its

beam

of the eternal Sun, a spark of the Divinity,

emanation from God.

On

the other hand,

it is

an

linked to the phe

nomenal or sensible world, its emotive part being formed
which is relative and phenomenal." Cocker. \/

of that

Bacchic Mysteries.

163

about a mortal nature, and the mis
eries with which such operations are (with

intellect

respect to imperfect souls like ours) attended.
Nor is it without reason that lacchus, or

Bacchus,

is

by Orpheus as the
her search for Bacchus is the

celebrated

companion of
evident symbol of the imperfect energies of
intellect, and its scattering into the obscure
and lamentable dominions of sense.
:

But our explanation will receive additional
strength from considering that these sacred
rites

occupied the space of nine days in their

celebration;

and

this,

doubtless,

because,

according to Homer,* this goddess did not
discover the residence of her daughter till
the expiration of that period.
in falling

from her

original

in the heavens, passed
*

Hymn

the earth

to Ceres.
.

.

"

For the

soul,

and divine abode

through eight spheres,

For nine days did holy Demeter perambulate

and when the ninth shining morn had come, Hecate

met

her, bringing news."
Apuleius also explains that at the initiation into the Mysteries
of Isis the candidate was enjoined to abstain from luxurious food

for ten days,

book

xi. p.

from the flesh of animals, and from wine.

239 (Bohn).

Golden Ass,

Eleusinian and

164

namely, the fixed or inerratic sphere, and
the seven planets, assuming a different body,

and employing different faculties in each
and becomes connected with the sublunary
world and a terrene body, as the ninth, and
most abject gradation of her descent. Hence
;

the

first

day of

was

rites

initiation into these mystic

called agurmos,

Hesychius, ekklesia
an assembly, and

and

this

et
all

according to

e.

i.

TO

rcav

aysLpojisvov,

together

collecting

with the greatest propriety

according

to

Gralaxy.*

ATJJIO^

:

for,

;

people of
dreams are souls collected together in the
at

a

f

}tr/ai,

iiav.f

Pythagoras,
s

"the

ovcipcov y,a

aovayeaftai cpvpiv

And from

eic,

TOV

this part of the

souls first begin to descend.

After

heavens
this,

the

from the tropic of Cancer into the
planet Saturn and to this the second day
of initiation was consecrated, which they
soul falls

;

called AXaSs [loatat,

ated ones
*

!
"]

["

to

the sea, ye

initi

because, says Meursius, on that

Only persons taking a view solely external will suppose the
galaxy to be literally the milky belt of stars in the sky.
t Cave of the Nymphs.

165

Bacchic Mysteries.

day the

was accustomed

crier

to

admonish

the mystae to betake themselves to the sea.
Now the meaning of this will be easily

understood, by considering that, according to
the arcana of the ancient theology, as may be
*
learned from Proclus, the whole planetary

system

and

is

this

under the dominion of Neptune;
too is confirmed by Martianus

who describes the several
many streams. Hence when

Capella,

as so

planets
the soul

the planet Saturn, which Capella
compares to a river voluminous, sluggish,
and cold, she then first merges herself into

falls into

fluctuating matter, though purer than that
of a sublunary nature, and of which water is

an ancient and significant symbol.
the sea is an emblem of purity, as

Besides,
is

evident

from the Orphic

hymn to Ocean, in which that

deity is called

ftscov

agnisma megiston,
the

gods

:

i.

e.

ayvtojia jisyioTGv, tlieon
the greatest purifier of

and Saturn, as we have already
[intuitive] intellect.

observed,

is

what

more confirms

still

pure

that Pythagoras, as
*

we

And

this observation

are informed

Theology of Plato, book

vi.

is,

by Por-

166

Bacchic Mysteries.

phyry, in his life of that philosopher, symbol
ically called the sea a tear of Saturn. But the
eighth day of initiation, which is symbolical
of the falling of the soul into the lunar
orb,*

was celebrated by the candidates by a

repeated initiation and second sacred rites

because the soul in this situation

is

;

about to

bid adieu to every thing of a celestial nature
to sink into a perfect oblivion of her divine
;

origin

and

pristine felicity

;

and

to rush pro

foundly into the region of dissimilitude,!
ignorance, and error. And lastly, on the
ninth day, when the soul falls into the sub
lunary world and becomes united with a ter

was performed, such
as is usual in sacred rites. Here the initiates,
filling two earthen vessels of broad and spa
cious bottoms, which were called irA7]{j.o)(oac,
plemokhoai, and xoToXoanoi, Jcotuluskoi, the
former of these words denoting vessels of a
conical shape, and the latter small bowls or
restrial body, a libation

*

The Moon

The soul
typified the mother of gods and men.
descending into the lunar orb thus came near the scenes of earthly
existence,

where the

life

opportunity to involve
t

it

which

is

transmitted by generation has

about.

The condition most unlike the former divine

estate.

Goddess Night.

Three Graces.

169

Bacchic Mysteries.

cups sacred to Bacchus, they placed one
towards the east, and the other towards the
west.

And

the

first

of these

was

doubtless,

according to the interpretation of Proclus,
sacred to the earth, and symbolical of the
soul proceeding from an orbicular figure, or
divine form, into a conical defluxion and ter

rene situation * but the other was sacred to
:

the soul, and symbolical of its celestial origin;
since our intellect is the legitimate progeny
of Bacchus.
nified

And

this too

was

occultly sig

by the position of the earthen ves

according to a mundane distribu
tion of the divinities, the eastern center of
sels; for,

the universe, which

belongs to Jupiter,
fixed

to

and

Pluto,

the west
its

analogous to

is

who

fire,

likewise governs the

inerratic sphere

;

and the western

who
is

governs the earth, because
allied to earth on account of

dark and nocturnal nature.f

./

Again, according to Clemens Alexandrinus, the following confession
*

An

was made by

orbicular figure symbolized the maternal, and a cone the

masculine divine Energy,
t

PROCLUS: Theology of Plato, book

vi. c. 10.

170
the

Eleusinian and

new

initiate in these sacred rites, in

an
swer to the interrogations of the Hierophant
have fasted; I have drank the Cyceon;*
:

"I

I have taken out of the Cista,

what

and placed

have taken out into the Calathus;
and alternately I have taken out of the Ca
I

lathus and put into the
EXsuoivuov
tov ttuxstovcr
qv .etc

But

Cista."

KcfaTt

TO

Ev^atcoaa*
sXa^ov en xiarqc, spyaoaKaXaftov, %ac sx xaXafl-oo ei
{Jtoar^puov.

as this pertains to a circum

stance attending the wanderings of Ceres,
which formed the most mystic and emblem
atical part of the ceremonies, it is
necessary

adduce the following arcane narration,
summarily collected from the writings of
Arnobius
The goddess Ceres, when search
to

"

:

ing through the earth for her daughter, in the
course of her wanderings arrived at the

boundaries of Eleusis, in the Attic region, a
place which was then inhabited by a people
called Autochthones, or
*

descended from the

HOMER: Hymn to Ceres. "To her Metaneira gave a
cup of
sweet wine, but she refused it but bade her to mix wheat and
water with pounded pennyroyal. Having made the
mixture, she
;

gave

it

to the

goddess."

Bacchic Mysteries.
earth,

171

whose names were as follows

:

Baubo

and Triptoleinus Dysaules, a goatherd Eubulus, a keeper of swine and Eumolpus, a
shepherd, from whom the race of the Eumolpidse descended, and the illustrious name of
Cecropidse was derived and who afterward
;

;

;

;

flourished as bearers of the caduceus, hiero-

phants, and criers belonging to the sacred
rites.
Baubo, therefore, who was of the

female sex, received

Ceres,

wearied with

complicated evils, as her guest, and endea
vored to soothe her sorrows by obsequious
aiid flattering attendance.

For

this purpose

she entreated her to pay attention to the re
freshment of her body, and placed before her

a mixed potion to assuage the vehemence of
her thirst. But the sorrowful goddess was
averse from her solicitations,

and rejected the

friendly officiousness of the hospitable dame.

The matron, however, who was not
pulsed,

still

easily re

continued her entreaties, which

were as obstinately resisted by Ceres, who
persevered in her refusal with unshaken per

and invincible firmness. But when
Baubo had thus often exerted her endeavors

sistency

172

Bacchic Mysteries.

to appease the sorrows of Ceres, but without

any effect, she, at length, changed her arts,
and determined to try if she could not exhil

by prodigies (or out-of-the-way expe
dients), a mind which she was not able to
allure by earnest endeavors.
For this pur
arate,

pose she uncovered that part of her body by
which the female sex produces children and

woman.* This she
assume a purer appearance, and a

derives the appellation of

caused to

smoothness such as

found in the private
child.
She then returns
is

parts of a stripling
to the afflicted goddess, and, in the midst of

those attempts which are usually employed
to alleviate distress, she uncovers herself,

and exhibits her

upon which
the goddess fixed her eyes, and was diverted
with the novel method of mitigating the an
guish of sorrow; and afterward, becoming
more cheerful through laughter, she assuages
her thirst with the mingled potion which she
had before despised." Thus far Arnobius;
and the same narration is epitomized by
secret parts;

Clemens Alexandrinus, who is very indignant
],

gune,

woman, from

foovo?, goimos, Latin cunnus.

Cupid and Venus.

Satyr and Goat.

Baubo, Ceres, and Nymphs.

Bacchic Mysteries.

175

he conceives, in the story,
and because it composed the arcana of the
Eleusinian rites. Indeed as the simple father,
at the indecency as

with the usual ignorance* of a Christian
priest,

considered the fable

literally,

and as

designed to promote indecency and lust, we
can not wonder at his ill-timed abuse. But
the fact
aTCoppYjTa,

is,

aporrheta, or arcane discourses, on

mystical meaning, and to pre
from becoming the object of ignorant

account of

vent

this narration belonged to the

it

its

declamation, licentious perversion, and im
pious contempt. For the purity and excel
lence

of these

institutions

is

perpetually

acknowledged even by Dr. Warburton him
self, who, in this instance, has dispersed, for a

moment, the mists

of delusion

and intolerant

Besides, as lamblichus beautifully ob
exhibitions of this kind in the
serves^
zeal.f

"

Mysteries were designed to free us from licen*

Uncandidness was more probably the fault of which Clement

was

guilty.

Divine Legation of Moses, book ii.
The wisest and best men in the Pagan world are unanimous
t
in this, that the Mysteries were instituted pure, and proposed the
t

"

noblest ends by the worthiest means.

Bacchic Mysteries.

176

tious passions,

gratifying the sight, and

by

same time vanquishing desire, through
the awful sanctity with which these rites
at the

says he, the proper
of freeing ourselves from the passions is,

were accompanied

way

"

:

for,"

them with moderation, by
which means they become satisfied listen, as
to indulge

first,

;

it

were, to persuasion,

tirely removed."*

rational, that it

and may thus be en

This doctrine

is

indeed so

can never be objected to by

any but quacks in philosophy and religion.
For as he is nothing more than a quack in
medicine who endeavors to remove a latent
bodily disease before he has called

it

forth

means diminished its
fury so he is nothing more than a pretender
in philosophy who attempts to remove the
externally,

and by

this

;

passions by violent repression, instead of

moderate compliance and gentle persuasion.

But

to return

from

this disgression, the fol

lowing appears to be the secret meaning of
this mystic discourse

may be
*

:

The matron Baubo

considered as a symbol of that pas-

Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians.

Bacchic Mysteries.

Ill

womanish, and corporeal life through
which the soul becomes united with this
earthly body, and through which, being at
sive,

descended, and, as it were,
was born into the world of generation, pass
first

ensnared,

ing,

by

it

means, from mature perfection,

this

splendor and reality, into infancy, darkness,
and error. Ceres, therefore, or the intel
lectual soul, in the course of her wanderings,

that

is,

of her evolutions

and goings-forth into

length captivated with the arts
of Baubo, or a corporeal life, and forgets her
sorrows, that is, imbibes oblivion of her

matter,

is at

wretched state in the mingled potion which
she prepares the mingled liquor being an
:

obvious symbol of such a
pure,

and,

on this account,

ruption and death

and unmixed

And

here

life,

it

is
is

;

since

mixed and im
liable

to

cor

every thing pure

incorruptible and divine.
necessary to caution the

reader from imagining, that because, accord
ing to the fable, the wanderings of Ceres

commence

rape of Proserpina,
hence the intuitive intellect descends sub
after

the

sequently to the soul, and separate from

it.

Eleusinian and

178

Nothing more is meant by this circumstance
than that the diviner intellect, from the su
perior excellence of its nature, has in cause,
though not in time, a priority to soul, and

that on this account a defection and revolt

(and descent earthward from the heavenly
condition) commences, from the soul, and
afterward takes place in the intellect, yet
so that the former descends with the latter
in inseparable attendance.

>/

I

J

From
we may

this explanation, then, of the fable,

easily perceive the

meaning

of the

mystic confession, I have fasted; I have
drank a mingled potion, etc.; for by the
former part of the assertion, no more is

meant than that the higher intellect, previous
to imbibing of oblivion through the decep
tive arts of a corporeal

life,

abstains from

material concerns, and does not mingle
itself (as far as its nature is capable of such
all

abasement) with even the necessary delights
of the body.

And

as to the latter part,

it

doubtless alludes to the descent of Proser

pina to Hades, and her

re-ascent to the

179

Bacchic Mysteries.

abodes of her mother Ceres that is, to the
outgoing and return of the soul, alternately
:

and ascending thence
world, and becoming per
her divine and intellec

falling into generation,

into the intelligible
fectly restored to

tual nature.

For

the

Cista contained the

most arcane symbols of the Mysteries, into
which it was unlawful for the profane to
look and whatever were its contents,* we
:

learn

from the

Ceres,

hymn

Callimachus to

of

that they were formed from

gold,

which, from its incorruptibility, is an evi
dent symbol of an immaterial nature. And
as to the Calathus, or basket, this, as
told

by Claudian, was

tibus, the spoils

filled

with

or fruits of the

we

are

spoliis agres-

field,

which

are

manifest symbols of a life corporeal and
So that the candidate, by confess
earthly.

and
ing that he had taken from the Cista,
placed what he had taken into the Calathus,
The epopt look
golden serpent, an egg, and the phallus.
as
awe
with
contemplating in the sym
ing upon these, was rapt
or
all
of
being of a grosser temper,
bols the deeper mysteries
life,
a seer, he beheld with the
as
Thus
took a lascivious impression.
*

A

eyes of sense or sentiment
that

made

;

to himself of his

and the

real apocalypse

own moral

life

was therefore

and character.

A.

W.

Eleminian and

180

and the contrary, occultly acknowledged the
descent of his soul from a condition of being
super-material and immortal, into one mate
rial and mortal
and that, on the contrary,
by living according to the purity which the
;

Mysteries inculcated, he should re-ascend to
that perfection of his nature, from which he

had unhappily
*

"

falien.* \

Exiled from the true

home

of the spirit, imprisoned in the

body, disordered by passion, and beclouded by sense, the soul has
yet longings after that state of perfect knowledge, and purity, and
bliss, in

which

it

was

first

created.

Its affinities are still

on high.

yearns for a higher and nobler form of life. It essays to rise,
but its eye is darkened by sense, its wings are besmeared by pas
sion and lust; it is
borne downward until it falls upon and
It

*

attaches itself to that which
ders and grovels

asks

:

still

How may the

is

material and sensual, and

amid the objects

of sense.

floun

it

And now,

Plato

soul be delivered from the illusions of sense,

the distempering influence of the body, and the disturbances of
passion, which becloud its vision of the real, the good,

true
"

?

and the

"

Plato believed and hoped that this could be accomplished by

philosophy.

This he regarded as a grand intellectual discipline

for the purification of the soul.

By

this it

was

to be disenthralled

from the bondage of sense, and raised into the empyrean of pure
thought, where truth and reality shine forth. All souls have the
*

faculty of knowing, but

and intellectual

it is

only by reflection and self-knowledge,

discipline,

that the soul can be raised to the

vision of eternal truth, goodness, and beauty
vision of

pp. 351-2.

God."

COCKER

:

Christianity

that

is,

to the

and Greek Philosophy,

x.

It only

Bacchic Mysteries.

181

we

consider the

now remains

that

fabulous narration, or arcane
discourse, it is said, that after the goddess
on arriving at Eleusis, had discovered

last part of this

Ceres,

her daughter, she instructed the Eleusinians
to
in the planting of corn: or, according
for her daugh
Claudian, the search of Ceres
instructing in the
the

goddess,
she
as
went, proved the occasion
art of tiUage
Now the
of a universal benefit to mankind.

ter,

through

secret

meaning of

this will be obvious,

by

of the superior
considering that the descent
exis
intellect into the realms of generated

benefit
tence becomes, indeed, the greatest
is
and ornament which a material nature

capable of receiving

:

for without this parti

in the lowest department
cipation of intellect
irrational
of corporeal life, nothing but the
in its
soul* and a brutal life would subsist

As the
dark and fluctuating abode, the body]
and particularly the
corn, becomes the greatest possi-

art of tillage, therefore,

growing of
*

part

It is

linked to the phenomenal or sensible world,

(m^tixov)

nornenal."

being formed of what

is

its

relative

emotive

and P

h<

182

Eleusinian and

ble benefit to our sensible

life, no symbol can
more aptly represent the unparalleled ad
vantages arising from the evolution and pro

cession of intellect with its divine nature into
a corporeal life, than the
good resulting from
agriculture and corn for whatever of horrid
:

and dismal can be conceived in
posing

it

night, sup
to be perpetually destitute of the

friendly illuminations of the

such,

and

infinitely

more

moon and

dreadful,

stars,

would be

the condition of an
earthly nature, if de
prived of the beneficent irradiations [icpoooc]

and supervening benefits of the diviner

life.
^

"

>w

And

much

for an explanation of the
Eleusinian Mysteries, or the
history of Ceres
this

and Proserpina

;

in

which

it

must be remem

bered that as this fable,
according to the
excellent observation of Sallust
already ad
duced, is of the mixed kind, though the
descent of the soul was doubtless
principally

alluded to

by these sacred

yet they
likewise occultly
signified, agreeable to the
nature of the fable, the
descending of divinity
rites,

Bacchic Mysteries.
into the

sublunary world.

183

But when we

view the fable in this part of its meaning,
we must be car eftil not to confound the nature
of a partial intellect like ours with the one uni
versal

and

divine.

about the gods

As everything

is divine,

subsisting
therefore intellect

and next to this soul,
and hence wanderings and abductions, lam
entations and tears, can here only signify
the participations and providential opera
tions of these in inferior natures and this
in such a manner as not to derogate from
in the highest degree,

;

the dignity, or impair the perfection, of the
divine principle thus imparted. I only add,
that the preceding exposition will enable
us to perceive the meaning and beauty of

the following representation of the rape of
Proserpina, from the Heliacan tables of Hi-

eronymus Aleander.*

Here,

first

of

all,

we

behold Ceres in a car drawn by two drag

and afterwards, Diana and Minerva,
with an inverted calathus at their feet, and
ons,

pointing out to Ceres her daughter Proser
pina, who is hurried away by Pluto in his
*

KIRCHER

:

Obcliscus PampliUiuSj

page

227.

Eleusinian and

184
car,

and

is

in the attitude of one struggling

Hercules

to be free.

is

likewise represented

with his club, in the attitude of opposing the
violence of Pluto and last of all, Jupiter is
:

represented extending his hand, as

if

to assist Proserpina in escaping

from the

embraces of Pluto.

willing

I shall therefore

con

clude this section with the following remark
able passage from Plutarch, which will not

only confirm, but be itself corroborated by
Git |j.sv ouv YJ Tuathe preceding exposition.
-patoXoyta, %at

Xaia

Xoyoc

pois,

ta

luoXXa

xporpo?, %at

Xoic

rpo^ttcc

8f

atviYiiaTcov

(JL

/ovca.

jarr^pca)5Y]c

pa.

aty(0(jiV(ov

Kat Ta

votav.*
*

MaXtata
%at

aajioc,

e.

PLUTARCH:

t/.

e.

ta

"

.

xat

67rovoLO)v

Ta

SsoXoyia.
actrpsarspa

oiywjjisva

KOV

TS Xa-

TOC^

TuoX-

XaXoo|isva>v

AvjXov sail, pergit, sv T

iYoxtiaxot^ xai

s^sac, %at tocc

Aoyo^.

xat BapjBa-

sXxsxaXDjXjisyo

YJV

TCOV

Xoo|jiva

EXXvjoi

rcap

s

of irspc

SpcojJisva

ta^ TsXs

ao|j.poXcx(oc

sv

t

The ancient physiology,! both

Euseb.

Exposition of the laws and operations of Nature.

185

Bacchic Mysteries.

and the Barbarians, was noth
than a discourse on natural subjects,

of the Greeks

ing else
involved or veiled in fables, concealing

many

things through enigmas and under -meanings,
and also a theology taught, in which, after

the things
spoken were clearer to the multitude than
those delivered in silence, and the things

the

manner

of the Mysteries,*

more subject to
This
investigation than what was spoken.
is manifest from the Orphic verses, and the
Egyptian and Phrygian discourses. But the
delivered in silence were

orgies of initiations,

monies of sacred

and

rites

the symbolical cere

especially,

understanding had of them by the
;,

mystery-like.

exhibit the
ancients."

Psyche Asleep in Hades.

River Goddesses.

SECTION

II.

Dionysiacal sacred rites instituted
by Orpheus,* depended on the follow
has been
ing arcane narration, part of which
already related in the preceding section,

THE

and the

rest

authors.

"

may be found

in a variety of

Dionysus, or Bacchus [Zagreus],

while he was yet a boy, was engaged by the
of Juno, in a
Titans, through the stratagems
variety of sports, with
*

which that period

Whether Orpheus was an actual

tioned by Aristotle

mention him.

;

living person has

been ques

but Herodotus, Pindar, and other

Although the Orphic system

is

of

writers,

asserted to have

it
come from Egypt, the internal evidence favors the opinion that
Buddhistic
the
is
phi
was derived from India, and that its basis

losophy.

The Orphic

trasting markedly with

associations of Greece were ascetic, con
the
enthusiasm, and license of the
frenzies,

The Thracians had numerous Hindu customs.
The name Kor6 is Sanscrit; and Zeus may be the Dyaus of
Hindu story. His visit to the chamber of Kor6-Persephoneia
or naga, and the horns or
(Parasu-pani) in the form of a dragon
or Buddhistic. The
Tartar
are
of
the
crescent on the head

popular

rites.

child,

187

Eleusinian and

188

//
is

life

the

so vehemently allured

rest,

and among

;

he was particularly captivated with

beholding his image in a mirror during his
admiration of which, he was miserably torn
in pieces by the Titans; who, not content
;

members in
water, and afterwards roasted them by the
fire.
But while they were tasting his flesh
with this cruelty,

first

boiled his

thus dressed, Jupiter, roused by the odor,
and perceiving the cruelty of the deed,
hurled his thunder at the Titans

but com

;

mitted the members of Bacchus to Apollo,
his brother, that they might be properly in
terred.

And

this being performed,

Diony
laceration was

sus (whose heart during his
snatched away by Pallas and preserved), by
a new regeneration again emerged, and

being restored to his pristine
name Zagreus is evidently Chakra, or
Hera who compassed his death is Aira,

life

and

integThe

ruler of the earth.

the wife of

Buddha

the Titans are the Daityas, or apostate tribes of India.

;

and

The doc

metempsychosis is expressed by the swallowing of the heart
murdered child, so as to reabsorb his soul, and bring him

trine of

of the

anew
of

into existence as the son of Semele.

Bacchus have Hindu characteristics

of the serpent worship of the ancients.

us unequivocal.

;

Indeed,

and

all

the stories

his cultus is a part

The evidence appears
A.

W.

to

Bacchic Mysteries.

189

up the number of
the gods. But in the mean time, from the
exhalations arising from the ashes of the
mankind were
burning bodies of the Titans,

rity, lie

afterwards

filled

in order to understand
produced. ^ Now,
of this narration, it is
properly the secret
necessary to repeat the observation already

u
that all
in the preceding chapter,
fables belonging to mystic ceremonies are

made

of the

mixed

kind":

and consequently the

well as that of Proserpina,
present fable, as
must in one part have reference to the gods,

and in the other to the human soul, as the
evince
following exposition will abundantly
:

In the

first place,

then,

by Dionysus,

or

Bacchus, according to the highest concep
tion of this deity, we understand the spiritual
for there are
part of the mundane soul;
various processions or avatars of this god,
But
or Bacchuses, derived from his essence.

the mun
by the Titans we must understand
dane gods, of whom Bacchus is the highest

by

;

or artificer of
Jupiter, the Demiurgus,*

as the god of
*Plotinus regarded the Demiurgus, or creator,
and power. Above him was the
providence, thought, essence,

Eleusinian and

190

the universe; by Apollo, the deity of the
Sun, who has both a mundane and super
mundane establishment, and by whom the

bound

symmetry and consent,
through splendid reasons and harmonizing
power and, lastly, by Minerva we must un
universe

is

in

;

derstand that original, intellectual, ruling,

and providential

deity,

who

guards and pre

lives * in

an immutable
condition, through intelligence and a selfsupporting life, and by this means sustains
them from the depredations and inroads
of matter.
Again, by the infancy of Bac
serves all middle

chus at the period of his laceration, the
condition of the intellectual nature is im
plied; since, according to the Orphic theol

ogy, souls, under the government of Saturn,
or Kronos, who is pure intellect or spiritual

instead of proceeding, as now, from youth
to age, advance in a retrograde progression

ity,

from age to youth, f

The

arts

employed by

pure intellect/ and still higher The One. These three
were the hypostases.
*
Lives which are not conjoined with material bodies, nor yet

deity of

"

elevated to the lofty state which

tEmanuel Swedenborg says:

is
"

the true divine condition.

They who

are in heaven

are

Bacchic Mysteries.

191

the Titans, in order to ensnare Dionysus, are
symbolical of those apparent and divisible
operations of the mundane gods, through
which the participated intellect of Bacchus
becomes, as it were, torn in pieces and by
;

the mirror

we must understand,

in the lan

guage of Proclus, the inaptitude of the uni
verse to receive the plenitude of intellectual
or spiritual perfection but the symbolical
meaning of his laceration, through the strat
;

agems of Juno, and the consequent punish
ment of the Titans, is thus beautifully
unfolded by Olympiodorus, in his manuscript
The
Commentary on the Phcedo of Plato
of that which is universal is
form," says he,
plucked off, torn in pieces, and scattered into
generation; and Dionysus is the monad of
the Titans. But his laceration is said to
"

:

"

take place through the stratagems of Juno,
continually advancing to the spring of

sands of years they

live, so

much

life,

and the more thou

the more delightful and happy is

the spring to which they attain, and this to eternity with increments

according to the progresses and degrees of love, of charity, and of
faith.

Women who

have died old and worn out with age, yet have

lived in faith on the Lord, in charity toward their neighbor,

and in

happy conjugal love with a husband, after a succession of years,
come more and more into the flower of youth and adolescence."

Eleusinian and

192

because

this

goddess

is

the

supervising

* and
guardian of motion and progression
on this account, in the Iliad, she perpetually
;

rouses and excites Jupiter to providential
action about secondary concerns
and, in
;

the ephorus or
supervising guardian of generation, because
he presides over life and death for he is the

another respect, Dionysus

is

;

guardian or ephorus of life because of genera
tion, and also of death because wine produces

an enthusiastic condition.

We become more

enthusiastic at the period of dying, as Proclus indicates in the example of Homer who

became prophetic

the time of his

[(j.avuttO] at

They likewise assert, that tragedy
and comedy are assigned to Dionysus com
death, f

:

edy being the play or ludicrous representation
of life;

By

and tragedy having

progression [upoooot;]

issuing forth of the soul
life,

;

is

relation to the

here signified the raying-out, or

having

left the divine or pre-existent

and come forth toward the human.

tSee also PLATO: Phcedrus, 43. "When I was about to
it
and wonted signal was given me

cross the river, the divine

and I seemed to
always deters me from what I am about to do
hear a voice from this very spot, which would not suffer me to
depart before

I

had purified myself, as

if I

had committed some

Bacchic Mysteries.
passions

and

193

The comic

death.

writers,

therefore, do not rightly call in question the
tragedians as not rightly representing Bac

chus, saying that such things did not happen
But Jupiter is said to have
to Bacchus.

hurled his thunder at the Titans

the thun

;

der signifying a conversion or changing

for

:

and hence Jupiter,
naturally ascends
by this means, converts the Titans to his

fire

own

;

essence."

eiSos sv rjj

xaftoXoo

to

Sicapastai

ysvsast, jjiovae 8s Tctavcov 6 Atovo-

Aco

TCpooSou.
^

Sieyopst

sv

lltaai

Tig

TOV

8ta

Koci ysvsascoc

st^

Trpovoiav
srpopos

xat

isXs jTYjc.

6

svfl-ODOtav

TYJC

ocvoc

6

ZCOTJC

ysvsaccoc,
iroist.

S

TCOV

sattv

aXXco^

xai
ioTt

e^avtotYjatv

jJ-sv

yap

TsXsotTjc

Kac

Tuspi

8s
TT^V

8s
offense against the Deity.

Now I am

good one for the soul
See also SHAKSPERE

some measure

:

is
:

in

a prophet, though not a very

Henry IV. part
"

Oh

I

prophetic."

1.

could prophesy,

But that the earthy and cold hand of death
Lies on my tongue."

Eleusinian and

194
f

npoy,Xo,
tsXeorirjv %ac TTJV

Trap

O[Jiy]p(p

ttco[j,a)cav

O jaav

iratyvtov

TOO

[3iov

Tpaya)5cav 5ia ta Tca^v], xat TTJV tsXeyTYJV.

O jx, apa
(o^

\rr\

Atovoaiaxotc

Tpay^otc

5s TO^TOCC

6

STUia-cpocpsv

oov

members

Zsu,
Tuopyap
aotoyc;

TO^)
STCC

Tupo^

Xsyov

oootv,

o^5sv Taota Trpo^ TOV Atovuaov.

oio

voc

of ^(OJJLI^GC TOIC

xaXco^

Kspao-

-icspaDvo

ta

ava>

saotov.

N

But by

Dionysus being first boiled
in water by the Titans, and afterward roasted
the

by the

fire,

of

the outgoing or distribution of

intellect into matter,

and

its

subsequent re

turning from thence, is evidently implied
for water was considered by the Egyptians,
:

as

we have

of matter

;

already observed, as the symbol
and fire is the natural symbol of

The heart of Dionysus too, is,
ascending.
with the greatest propriety, said to be pre
served by Minerva; for this goddess is the
guardian of
bol.

life,

So that

signifies,

of

which the heart

is

a

sym

this part of the fable plainly

that while intellectual or spiritual

195

Bacchic Mysteries.
life is

distributed into the universe, its prin

preserved entire by the guardian
power and providence of the Divine intel
And as Apollo is the source of all
ligence.
ciple

is

union and harmony, and as he

is called

by

key-keeper of the fountain of

Proclus, "the
* the reason
life,"

is

obvious

why

the

mem

bers of Dionysus, which were buried by this
deity, again emerged by a new generation,

and were restored to their pristine integrity
But let it here be carefully ob
and life.
served, that renovation,

gods,

is

when

applied to the

to be considered as secretly implying

the rising of their proper light, and its con
sequent appearance to subordinate natures.

And

that punishment,

when

considered as

taking place about beings of a nature superior
to mankind, signifies nothing more than a

secondary providence over such beings which
is of a punishing character, and which sub
sists

about souls that deteriorate.

then, from what has been

said,

Hence,

we may

first
easily collect the ultimate design of the

part of this mystic fable
*

Hymn

;

to the

for
Sun.

it

appears to be

196

Bacchic Mysteries.

no other than to represent the manner in
which the form of the mundane intellect is
divided through the universe
that such an
;

intellect

(and every one which

is total) re

mains entire during its division into parts,
and that the divided parts themselves are
continually turned

again to their source,

with which they become

finally united.

So

that illumination from the higher reason,
while it proceeds into the dark and rebound

ing receptacle of matter, and invests its ob
scurity with the supervening ornaments of
divine light, returns at the same time with
out interruption to the source or principle
of its descent.

Let us

now

consider the latter part of the
fable, in which it is said that our souls were
formed from the vapors emanating from the

ashes of the burning bodies of the Titans;
at the same time connecting it with the

former part of the

fable,

which

is

also appli

cable in a certain degree to the condition of

a partial intellect* like ours.
*

Partial, as being parted

In the

from the Supreme Mind.

first

Etruscan Eleusinians.

Bacchic Mysteries.
then,

place,

we

199

made up from frag

are

ments (says Olympiodoms), because, through
falling into generation, our life has proceeded

most distant and extreme division
and from Titanic fragments, because the

into the

;

Titans are the ultimate artificers of things,*
and stand immediately next to whatever is

But further, our
irrational life is Titanic, by which the rational
and higher life is torn in pieces. Hence,
constituted from them.

when we

disperse the Dionysus, or intuitive
intellect contained in the secret recesses of

our nature, breaking in pieces the kindred
and divine form of our essence, and which

communicates, as

it

were, both with things

subordinate and supreme, then we become
Titans (or apostates) but when we establish
;

ourselves in union with this Dionysiacal or

kindred form, then we become Bacchuses, or
perfect guardians and keepers of our irra
tional life

spect
*

is

we

:

for Dionysus,

resemble,

made

all evil,

the actual artificers.

in this re

himself an ephorus or

The Demiurge or Creator being superior

concupiscence and

are

is

whom

the Titans

who

to matter in

which

are not thus superior

Meusinian and

200

guardian deity, dissolving at his pleasure the
bonds by which the soul is united to the
body, since he

But

it is

the cause of a parted life.
necessary that the passive or femi
is

nine nature of our irrational part, through

which we are bound in body, and which is
nothing more than the resounding echo, as it
were, of soul, should suffer the punishment
incurred by descent for when the soul casts
;

aside the [divine] peculiarity of her nature,

she requires her own, but at the same time a
multiform body, that she may again become

common

form, which she has
lost through Titanic dispersion into matter.

in need of a

But

in order to

resem

see the perfect

blance between the manner in which our
souls descend

and the dividing of the intui

tive intellect

by mundane natures,

reader attend

to

let

the

the following admirable

from the manuscript Commentary
of Olympiodorus on the Phcedo .of Plato
citation

:

"It

is

necessary,

first

of

all,

for the soul to

place a likeness of herself in the body.
is

to ensoul the body.

Secondly,

it is

This
neces-

Bacchic Mysteries.

201

sary for her to sympathize with the image, as
being of like idea. For every external form

wrought into an identity with
its interior substance, through an ingenerated
tendency thereto. In the third place, being
or substance

is

situated in a divided nature,

it is

necessary
that she should be torn in pieces, and fall
into a last separation, till, through the action
of a

life

of purification, she shall raise herself

from the dispersion, loose the bond of sym
pathy, and act as of herself without the
external image, having become established

The like
For Dio
nysus or Bacchus because his image was
formed in a mirror, pursued it, and thus
But
became distributed into everything.
Apollo collected him and brought him up;
being a deity of purification, and the true
savior of Dionysus and on this account he
according to the first-created life.
things are fabled in the example.

;

is

styled in the sacred

hymns,

r

O~i

Set

TCpco-ccv

sauTC j sv

TO)

aac TO aa)[ia.

kp, x-ata

oiroTCYjaat

aa)|jLrm.

euiova

TTJV

TOUTO yap sari

Asoispov 8s

TTJV 6jJLOi8scav.

Dionusites."

ooji/juaftstv

Ilav

yap

T(J>

stSoc

Eleusinian and

202
sic,

TTJV

icpoc

saoTO

ca

Taotor/jTa

sv

Tprcov

.

TYJV

T(p

TOV

av Sat

xa*apttiQxiQC CWTJC ouvaystpat

TYJC

airo

s

axopTutajio j, Xoavj

TO^>

7ra^ia^, icpo^exXXetat

TOV

osa-

TT^V

avso

3

xctflC

CCOTJV.

0tc

ta

saoivjv
6[xota

eotcooav

[xofl-eoetat,

%at

sv

C

yap

Acovoaoc,

TO) SGOITTpO) TOOT(p
etc co

TS

aystpst

%at

$-cO,

Kat

8ia

^av

TOOTO

TO

(pG7UTO.

C

5s AiroXXcov

ejJtsptafl-Tj.

&mov
TOO

ore

%at

avayst,

ACOVOGOO
ACOVOGOTTJC

xafl-apttxoc

OCOTTJP

OK

avojxsfcat.

cov

aXtpfl-co^.

Hence,

same author beautifully observes, the
soul revolves according to a mystic and
mundane revolution for flying from an in
as the

:

and Dionysiacal life, and operating
according to a Titanic and revolting energy,
divisible

she becomes bound in the body as in a prison.
Hence, too, she abides in punishment and
takes

care

of

her partial and secondary

concerns; and being purified from Titanic
defilements, and collected into one, she be-

203

Bacchic Mysteries.

she passes into the
to
proper integrity of her nature according
the divine principle ruling on high. From all
which it evidently follows, that he who lives

comes a Bacchus that
;

is,

labors and is freed
Dionysiacally rests from
* that he leaves his
prison,
from his bonds
;

or rather his apostatizing life and that he
who does this is a philosopher purifying him
;

self
life.

from the contaminations of his earthly
But farther from this account of Dio

nysus,

Plato s
perceive the truth of
that the design of the Myste

we may
"

observation,

us back to the perfection from
our de
which, as our beginning, we first made

ries is to lead

scent."

self

For in this perfection Dionysus him

subsists, establishing perfect

the throne of his father

;

that

is,

souls in

in the in

So
to Jupiter.
tegrity of a life according
that he who is perfect necessarily resides
with the gods, according to the design of
those deities,

summate

who

are the sources of con

perfection to the soul.

And

lastly,

toward virtue by a strenuous use of the gifts
which God communicates but when God communicates himself,
*"We

strive

;

then we can be only passive
tion

ceases."

we

repose,

we

enjoy, but all opera

204

Bacchic Mysteries.

the Thyrsus

which was used in the

itself,

Bacchic procession, as it was a reed full of
knots, is an apt symbol of the diffusion of the
higher nature into the sensible world. And
agreeable to this, Olympiodorus on the Phcedo
that the Thyrsus * is a symbol of
a forming anew of the material and parted
substance from its scattered condition and
"

observes,

;

that on this account

a Titanic plant.
This it was customary to extend before Bac
chus instead of his paternal scepter; and
it is

through this they called him down into our
Indeed, the Titans are Thyr
and Prometheus concealed fire

partial nature.

sus-bearers

;

in a Thyrsus or reed

;

after

which he

is

con

sidered as bringing celestial light into genera
tion, or leading the soul into the body, or
calling

forth the

divine

illumination,

the

whole being ungenerated, into generated ex
istence.

Hence Socrates

calls

the multitude

Thyrsus-bearers Orphically, as living accord
(hi 6 vap#Y^ oo|ji(3oXov
ing to a Titanic life."
f

*The word

thyrsus,

it

pxh^, a rod or ferula.

will

be seen,

is

here translated from

Bacchic Mysteries.

207
oftsv

,

TO

Kac

cpuTov.

TCO

yap

Aiovua(|>

aoT(p, avcc TO J Traipty-o

Kac
Kat

Taonrj icpoxaXouVtat OWTOV
[xevToi,

%ai vap^r^ocpopooacv
V Vapfl-7)%f XXSTUTI

ITpOJJLTjfl-SOC,

oupavtov

etc

cpcoc
ei<;

ysvsaiv

of

TOV

Tttavsc, xat 6

TO

TO

IT

TTOp,

SITS

x.aTaairtov,

TO aco^a irpoaycov, SITS TTJV -8-stav

ayW7]Tov ouoav,

6Xv]v
acv

^v

et<;

soc

TTpoxaXo jfisvo^.

ysvs-

TT^V

Ata 5s TOOTO, %ai

6

So>-

vap$iq*oyopooc OpL^

And

Tttavwta>c

thus mucli for the secret meaning

of the fable,

which formed a principal part

of

these mystic rites. Let us now proceed to
consider the signification of the symbols,

which, according to Clemens Alexandrinus,
belonged to the Bacchic ceremonies and
;

which are comprehended in the following
Orphic verses
Kcovo?, xa:

Mf]Xa

That
A

IE

:

pojJi|3oc,

xa

xpossa xaXa

r

.

rcai-p/ia y.r/p.iraiYO

Trap

37tp

.5ouv

.a

X .YU?pcovtov.

is,

wheel, a pine-nut, and the wanton plays,

Which move and bend

the limbs in various

ways

:

Eleusinian and

208

With these th Hesperian golden-fruit combine,
Which beauteous nymphs defend of voice divine.

To

all

tron,

which Clemens adds

a mirror,

TCOT-OC,

saorc-cpov,

esop-

pokos, a fleece of wool,

and aatpayaXoc, astragalos, the ankle-bone.
In the first place, then, with respect to the
wheel, since Dionysus, as we have already
explained, is the mundane intellect, and in
tellect is of an elevating and convertive na
nothing can be a more apt symbol of
intellectual action than a wheel or sphere
ture,

:

besides, as the laceration

and dismemberment

of Dionysus signifies the going-forth of in
tellectual illumination into matter,

and

its

returning at the same time to its source, this
too will be aptly symbolized by a wheel. In
the second place, a pine-nut, from its conical
shape, is a perspicuous symbol of the manner
in

which

intellectual or spiritual illumination

proceeds from its source and beginning into
For the soul," says Maa material nature.
"

crobius,*

which

is

into the

u

proceeding from a round figure,
the only divine form, is extended

form of a cone in going
*

In Somnid Sciplonis,

xii.

forth."

209

Bacchic Mysteries.

And

the same

true symbolically of the
And as to the wanton

is

higher intellect.

which bend the limbs, this evidently
alludes to the Titanic arts, by which Dionysus
sports

was

allured,

ties of

the

mundane

intellect,

condition.

considered as

an apparent and

according to

subsisting
divisible

signifies the facul

and occultly

But

the

Hesperian

golden-apples signify the pure and incorrupt
ible nature of that intellect or Dionysus, which

possessed by the world for a golden-apple,
according to Sallust, is a symbol of the world

is

;

;

and this doubtless, both on account of its ex
ternal figure, and the incorruptible intellect

which it contains, and with the illuminations
of which it is externally adorned since gold,
on account of neverbeing subject to rust, aptly
denotes an incorruptible and immaterial na
;

the next symbol,
we have already explained. And as to the
fleece of wool, this is a symbol of laceration,

ture.

The

mirror,

which

is

or distribution of intellect, or Dionysus, into

matter;

for

dilanio,

which

the verb
is

arcaparcco,

sparatto,

used in the relation of the

Bacchic discerption,

signifies to tear in pieces

210

Bacchic Mysteries.

and hence Isidorus derives the
Latin word lana, wool, from laniando, as
vettus from vellendo.
Nor must it pass un
wool

like

:

observed, that Xfjvoc, in Greek, signifies wool,
and XTJVO^, a wine-press.* And, indeed, the

pressing of grapes is as evident a symbol of
dispersion as the tearing of wool and this
;

circumstance was doubtless one principal
reason why grapes were consecrated to Bac

chus

for a grape, previous to its pressure,

:

aptly represents that which

one

and when

is

collected into

pressed into juice, it no
less aptly represents the diffusion of that
which was before collected and entire. And
;

it is

the aatpayaXoc, astragalos, or miklebone, as it is principally subservient to the

lastly,

progressive motion of animals, so it belongs,
with great propriety, to the mystic symbols
of Bacchus; since

doubtless signifies the
going forth of that deity into the department
it

of physical existence
divisible life

which

:

for nature, or that

subsists about the body,

*

The practice of punning, so common in all the old rites, is
here forcibly exhibited. It aided to conceal the symbolism and
mislead uninitiated persons who might seek to ascertain the

genuine meaning.

Hercules Reclining.

213

Bacchic Mysteries.

productive of seeds, imme
And hence we
diately depends on Bacchus.
are informed by Proclus, that the sexual parts

and which

is

of this god are denominated

by

theologists,

whole
Diana, who, says he, presides over the
of the generation into natural existence,
leads forth into light all natural reasons,

extends a

prolific

and

power from on high even

And

to the subterranean realms.*

hence we

may perceive the reason why, in the Orphic
Hymn to Nature, that goddess is described as
"

turning round silent traces

ivitJi

the ankle-

bones of her feet"
.

TCOU>V

lyyoc,

that
highly worthy our observation
in this verse of the hymn Nature is cele
brated as Fortune, according to that descrip

And

it is

which she is repre
sented as standing with her feet on a wheel
which she continually turns round; as the
abun
following verse from the same hymn

tion of the goddess in

dantly confirms
Asvao)

:

OTocaX .ff-

0-oov

oivsoooaa.
t>juia

Commentary upon

the Timceus,

214

Eleusinian and

The sense

of

which

"

moving with rapid
motion on an eternal wheel." Nor ought it
to seem wonderful that Nature should be
is,

celebrated as Fortune; for Fortune in the

Orphic

hymn

Diana

and the moon,

:

in the

to that

deity is invoked as
as we have observed

preceding section,

aycdiJ.cc ^uascoc,

the

the owcoircov

is

emblem of
apparent incon

self-revealing

and indeed the
stancy of Fortune has an evident agreement
with the fluctuating condition in which the
Nature

;

dominions of nature are perpetually involved.
It only now remains that we
explain the
secret

meaning of the sacred dress with

which the
ries

initiated in the Dionysiacal

were invested, in order to the

0povca{j.oc

enthroning) taking place; or
solemn manner on a throne,

(thronismos,
sitting in a

about which
initiates to

was customary for the other
dance. But the particulars of
it

this habit are thus described in the

verses preserved
Taota

Myste

by Macrobius

*
:

Y* rcavta tsXsiv Ispa OXTTJO^ iroxaaavta,

cou TcXaitsiv

Saturnalia,

i.

18.

Orphic

215

Bacchic Mysteries.
.

.ov axtivsaaiv

.v.xspov (lege (po .vtxeov) icpottxtXov
.o rcava .oXoo
elpo
orcspxh: Vcjipo

Aotap

Aspjxa TCoXo-T .xtov O-rjpoc

xaia os^ .ov

Aaxpcuv oaioaXstov

bpoo

JJ/.JUUJA

xa&a^

ts

r

Iv.ia S

UTCspD-s vsjSp^]?

ypuosov

OT -sx TCspatouv FaiYji; cpasO-cov

avopouawv

ov Oxeavoio,
.rv

j-pj

a37tto<;

<$

TJ,

ava

o

Spoocp

o .vvjotv eXiaoo/xsvy]
Mapjixaip-fl

IlpoaO-s fteoo.

Oa .vsx

That

ZCOVY] 8

ap iixsavoD

ap

xata xuxXov,

UTCO otcpvcov

xuxXo<;,

jite"^

a^etpv]Tu>v

eia .osaO a ..

S-aujj.

is,

He who

desires in

The sun

s

pomp

of sacred dress

resplendent body to express,
Should first a vail assume of purple bright,
Like fair white beams combin d with fiery light
On his right shoulder, next, a mule s broad hide

Widely

:

diversified with spotted pride

Should hang, an image of the pole divine,

And

deedal stars,

A golden
He

whose orbs eternal

shine.

splendid zone, then, o er the vest

next should throw, and bind it round his breast;
how with golden light,

In mighty token,

The

rising sun,

from earth

s last

bounds and night

Sudden emerges, and, with matchless force,
Darts through old Ocean s billows in his course.

A boundless

splendor hence, enshrin d in dew,

Plays on his whirlpools, glorious to the view
While his circumfluent waters spread abroad,

;

Full in the presence of the radiant god

:

216

Eleusinian and

But Ocean

The sun

s

In the

why
is

s circle, like

wide bosom

first

a zone of light,

girds,

and charms the wond ring

then, let us consider

place,

this mystic dress belonging to

to represent the sun.

this will be evident

servations

:

sight.

Now

Bacchus

the reason of

from the following ob

according to the Orphic theol

ogy, the divine intellect of every planet is
denominated a Bacchus, who is characterized
in each

by a

different appellation; so that

the intellect of the solar deity is called Trietericus Bacchus.
And in the second place,
since the divinity of the sun, according to
the arcana of the ancient theology, has a

super-mundane as well as mundane establish
ment, and is wholly of an exalting or intel
hence considered as super
mundane he must both produce and contain
lectual nature

the

mundane

essence
in the

;

for

;

Dionysus, in his
the mundane are contained

intellect, or

all

super-mundane

they are produced.
elegant

Hymn

to

Ss xXoiov

deities,

Hence

by

also

Proclus, in his

the Sun, says

&J1V81Q001 Aicovooaoio

whom

:

That

"

is,

Bacchic Mysteries.

217

they celebrate thee in

hymns as the

illustrious parent of

Dionysus."

And thirdly,

through the subsistence of Dionysus in
the sun that that luminary derives its circular
motion, as is evident from the following Or

it is

phic verse, in which, speaking of the sun,
is said of him, that

it

5

Oovsxrx fovs .tai *at aTCS .pova fxaxpo

Dionysus, because he is carried
with a circular motion through the immense
ly-extended heavens." And this with the
"

He is called

as we have
greatest propriety, since intellect,
already observed, is entirely of a transforming

and elevating nature

:

so that

from

all this, it

evident why the dress of Diony
represented as belonging to the sun.

is sufficiently

sus

is

In the second place, the vail, resembling a
mixture of fiery light, is an obvious image of
the solar fire. And as to the spotted muleto represent the starry heav
of
ens, this is nothing more than an image

skin,*

*

which

Nebris

is

is

also a fawn-skin.

at the great festivals.

It is

In India the robe of Indra

The Jewish

rendered

is

spotted.

<;

high-priest wore one

badger s skin

"

in the Bible.

218
the

Bacchic Mysteries.

moon

this luminary, according to Proc-

;

lus on Hesiod, resembling the mixed nature
of a mule
becoming dark through her par
"

;

ticipation of earth,
light

from the

Tv^

sun."

5s
[J.SV

and deriving her proper
TO

(isv

s/ouaa TO oxo-

ocxscov

O JV OlXSUDTOCl

So that the spotted hide signifies the moon
attended with a multitude of stars: and
hence, in the Orphic Hymn to the Moon, that
deity is celebrated "as shining surrounded

with beautiful stars
ooaa,

and

trarche, or

is
"

"

:

xcdoic

aaTpoiac

likewise called aaTpappj,

gMeew- o/ ^Ae

ppoas-

stars."

In the next place, the golden zone

is

the

circle of the

evince.

Ocean, as the last verses plainly
But, you will ask, what has the

rising of the sun through the ocean, from the
boundaries of earth and night, to do with the

adventures of Bacchus ?
inpossible to devise a
fully

the

accommodated

first

emblem

I answer, that

symbol more beauti

to the purpose

place, is not the ocean

of

it is

:

for, in

a proper

an earthly nature, whirling and

Bacchic Mysteries.

221

stormy, and perpetually rolling without ad
mitting any periods of repose ? And is not
the sun emerging from

boisterous deeps a
perspicuous symbol of the higher spiritual
nature, apparently rising from the dark and
its

fluctuating material receptacle,

and confer

ring form and beauty on the sensible uni
verse through its light ? I say apparently
rising, for though the spiritual nature always
diffuses its splendor

with invariable energy,

yet it is not always perceived by the subjects
of its illuminations besides, as psychical na
:

tures can only receive partially and ftt inter
vals the benefits of the divine irradiation;

hence fables regarding this temporal partici
pation transfer, for the purpose of conceal
ment and in conformity to the phenomena,
the imperfection of subordinate natures to
such as are supreme. This description, there
fore, of the rising sun, is a

most beautiful

symbol of the new birth of Bacchus, which,
as we have already observed, implies nothing
more than the rising of intellectual light, and
its

consequent manifestation to subordinate

orders of existence.

222

Eleusinian and

And

thus much, for the mysteries of Bac
chus, which, as well as those of Ceres, relate
in one part to the descent of a partial in

and its condition while
united with the dark tenement of the body
tellect into matter,

:

but there appears to be this difference be

tween the two, that in the fable of Ceres and
Proserpine the descent of the whole rational
soul is considered and in that of Bacchus
the scattering and going forth of that su
;

tvhich

we

appellation

of

preme part alone of our nature
property

characterize

~by

the

In the composition of each we
discern the same traces of exalted wis

intellect.*

may
dom and

recondite theology of a theology
the most venerable for its antiquity, and the
;

most admirable for its excellence and reality,
I shall conclude this treatise

by presenting
the reader with a valuable and most elegant

hymn
*

of Proclusf to Minerva,

Greek,

voo<;,

which

I

have

nous, the Intuitive Reason, that faculty of the

mind that apprehends the

Ineffable Truth.

That the following hymn was composed by Proclus, can not
be doubted by any one who is conversant with those already ex
t

tant of this incomparable man, since the spirit and

both

is

perfectly the same.

manner

in

223

Bacchic Mysteries.

Museum and

discovered in the British

;

the

existence of which appears to have been
This hymn is to
hitherto utterly unknown.

be found among the Harleian Manuscripts,

volume containing several of the Orphic
hymns, with which, through the ignorance of

in a

transcriber,

it is

indiscriminately ranked, as

well as the other four

of Proclus,

hymns

already printed in the Bibliotheca Grceca of
Fabricius. Unfortunately too, it is tran
scribed in a character so obscure,

and with

such great inaccuracy, that, notwithstanding
the pains I have taken to restore the text
to its original purity, I have been obliged to
omit two lines, and part of a third, as beyond

my

abilities to

read or

amend

;

however, the

and doubtless the most important
fortunately intelligible, which I now

greatest,
part, is

present to the reader s inspection, accompa
nied with some corrections, and an English

paraphrased

translation.

The

original

is

highly elegant and pious, and contains one

mythological particular, which is no where
It has likewise an evident
else to be found.
connection with the preceding fable of Bac-

Eleusinian and

224

chus, as will be obvious from the perusal;
and on this account principally it was in
serted in the present discourse.

AOHNAN.
KAT0I

jut.su

a.

s(ioyjo ,o oioc,

TSZO?

*/]

sxTipoftopoooa, xai axpotarr,? arco aeipa?

ir cpspasw fArfaaO-sv*?

f
oocpivj?

5

t^VDGO

O

usTaaaaa

Ka: ^^ov .cov oajxaaaaa
C

H

*

Lege

f

Lege

t

Lege

$

Lege

||

Lege

o^p .fxo7iarr]p,*

6|HVOV SUCppOVl TTOTV .a

ajj-uati

XUTOO.

Bacchic Mysteries.

a3iu

()uvo|J.a

KXovH

Ao?

Ka

r

.

ixeo YI
^LOI

Ao<;

^!>X"fi

A j^pVY]
IXaO-i

|X

.

.

?

OXo]J.TCOV

B S/XTCVEUOOV eptoti,

Xu>p

V 8aTrsoia:v, 6ti
XcxXu^".

xai

auo

f]\^a TiaTpOS

aaojJ.j3poT

.Xi)(o^of>X

.JJ.VOV
".

juicvoc;

toiov, ooov yO-ov.tov

r

PtY Sava .? Ttotvaiaiv

K

eu .psiov oso

aTC

xa epcotw

TCpO<:

xa:

opfxov

T 0101* a Y vov

Toaaar.ov, xa

Go

Y VOV

cpao<;

oX^ov

ao f IYJV

s/i -v

ocuxa<;

225

010

f

jJ.YjO/xaorj<;

xa: xupjuia Y^VEaoa,

Tog

U/0|J.ai Etva .
.v

/xoi jxsiXis/

ooai; UTTO^CC;.

TO MINEEVA.
DAUGHTER

of aegis-bearing Jove, divine,

Propitious to thy votaries prayer incline

From
Like

thy great father

fire

s

;

fount supremely bright,

resounding, leaping into light.

Shield-bearing goddess, hear, to

whom

belong

A manly mind,

and power to tame the strong!
from
matchless might, with joyful mind
Oh, sprung
benevolent and kind
this
hymn
Accept
!

;

The holy gates of wisdom, by thy hand
Are wide unfolded and the daring band
;

Of earth-born

giants, that in impious fight

Strove with thy fire, were vanquished by thy might.
Once by thy care, as sacred poets sing,
The heart of Bacchus, swiftly-slaughtered king,

*

t

Lege

aju.TCXaxY]|xa.

Lege

JULYS

JUL

acrr)<;.

Eleusinian and

226
Was

sav d in ^ther, when, with fury

The Titans

fell

against his

life

fired,

conspired ;

And

with relentless rage and thirst for gpre,
Their hands his members into fragments tore

But ever watchful of thy father s will,
Thy power preserved him from succeeding
Till

from the secret counsels of his

:

ill,

fire,

And born from Semele

through heavenly
Great Dionysus to the world at length

sire,

Again appeared with renovated strength.
Once, too, thy warlike ax, with matchless sway,

Lopped from their savage necks the heads away
Of furious beasts, and thus the pests destroyed

Which long all-seeing Hecate annoyed.
By thee benevolent great Juno s might

Was roused, to
And thro life s
Each part

furnish mortals with delight.

wide and various range,

to beautify with art divine

Invigorated hence by thee,

A demiurgic

thine

find

impulse in the mind.

Towers proudly

To

we

t is

:

raised,

and

for protection strong,

thee, dread guardian deity, belong,

As proper symbols of th exalted height
Thy series claims amidst the courts of light.
Lands are beloved by thee, to learning prone,
And Athens, Oh Athena, is thy own!
Great goddess, hear

!

and on

my

dark ned mind

Pour thy pure light in measure unconfined
That sacred light, Oh all-protecting queen,

Which beams

My

eternal from thy face serene.

soul, while

wand ring on

the earth, inspire

With thy own blessed and impulsive

And from
Give

all

;

thy fables,

fire

:

mystic and divine,

her powers with holy light to shine.

Bacchic Mysteries.
Give love, give wisdom, and a power to love,
Incessant tending to the realms above
Such as unconscious of base earth s control
;

Gently attracts the vice-subduing soul
From night s dark region aids her to retire,
:

And once more

O

gain the palace of her

all-propitious to

Nor

let

Which
With

And

my

prayer incline

sire.

!

those horrid punishments be mine

guilty souls in Tartarus confine,

fetters fast

ned to

its

brazen

floors,

by hell s tremendous iron doors.
Hear me, and save (for power is all thine own)
A soul desirous to be thine alone.*

It is

lock d

very remarkable in this hymn, that

the exploits of Minerva relative to cutting
off the heads of wild beasts with an ax, etc.,

mentioned by no writer whatever; nor
can I find the least trace of a circumstance
either in the history of Minerva or Hecate

is

to
*

which

it

alludes.f

And from

hence, I

should ever be able to publish a second edition of my
translation of the hymns of Orpheus, I shall add to it a translation
If I

which are fortunately extant but
which are nothing more than the wreck of a great multitude which

of all those

hymns

of Proclus,

;

he composed.
t If Mr. Taylor had been conversant with Hindu literature, he

would have perceived that these exploits of Minerva-Athene were
taken from the buffalo-sacrifice of Burga or Bhavani. The whole
Dionysiac legend is but a rendering of the Sivaic and Buddhistic
legends into a Grecian dress.

A.

W.

228

Bacchic Mysteries.

we may

reasonably conclude that it
belonged to the arcane Orphic narrations
concerning these goddesses, which were con
think,

sequently but rarely mentioned, and this but
by a few, whose works, which might afford
us some clearer information, are unfortu
nately

lost.

Musical Conference.

Mre****<

Venus Hieing from the

Sea.

APPENDIX.
writing the above Dissertation, I
have met with a curious Greek manu

SINCE
script

entitled

"

:

Of

Concerning

Psellus,

Dcemons,* according to the opinion of the
Greeks : TOO iFsXXoo Ttva Trspi Scaptovcov
"

In the course of which

So^aCo jacv EXXvjvsc

he describes the machinery of the Eleusinian
Mysteries as follows
T(OV,

otov

aoTiy-a

A

:

ta

Ss y

EXsoaivia,

TOV

ea [J.IYVJJJ.SVOV

%at

7C(OC Y]

TTJ

ATJJJLTJ-

8 jyaispsi

TCVCOV

*

DflBmons, divinities, spirits

;

a term formerly applied to all

rational beings, good or bad, other than mortals.

229

230
(ov

Appendix.
Etta

TC/,aytoc-

Kat

exepvo^opiqoa)
7.ai

TOO.

6

icaO-atvojxevov

(lege
jc

^rspt

TsXoojisvot,

Ttc

TJ/COV

poc,

Tpayoo)

Kca

5c5 j[j.occ* ott

STJ

Xs^Tjc

8at{xovcov

(lege

YJ

[xtfjLTj^aia.

OOTCO

at(o ata/ovo{JLVOt.

Kat

-naTaXoooatv.

Erp

{jLYjpooc

%Ttc,

TXtY]v

i\

of<;

yap

Ao)5a)vatov

YJ

ovo[iaCooat

OOTCOC
e.

%at

avaaopo[iVY], %at

"

/.

Sa^a-

[jLtfJiaXcovsc,

%at

QsaTCcDTSto

Baopco TOO^)

yovattto^

TS %at

T(J>

%at

luoiuava, xat ot tco

7,X7j8ovs<;

irsp

AYj|i7]Tpi

TTQ

aTuoTSjicav,

op/si<;

^atsx^sto, coaTusp

iuoXoo[xcpaXa

Ctco

6

tote

Tac

^raatv at TOO Atovoaoo Ttjxat, %at

%at ta

/,

TOV

67:0

Zs jc Stxac aTcoitvvo? TT^ pia^

Em

KopYj

tig

K

Ticoxptvetat

(jL7j|jia

irt

eicadoootv of TsXooivoc

scpayov

(lege

ya^kcc

V

ata/pco

TYJV
TYJV

The Mysteries

of these demons, such as the Eleusinia, con
sisted in representing the mythical narra

and her
daughter Proserpina (Phersephatte). But as

tion of Jupiter mingling with Ceres

231

Appendix.

venereal connections are in the initiation,* a
Venus is represented rising from the sea, from
certain

moving sexual parts

celebrated

Pluto)
initiated

sing
"

Out

afterwards the

of

Proserpina (with
and those who are

marriage

takes

:

place;
:

of the

drum

I

Out of the cymbal

have eaten,
I have drank,

The mystic vase I have sustained,
The bed I have entered.

The pregnant throes
are represented

Deo

:

likewise of Ceres [Deo]

hence the supplications of

the drinking of bile,
and the heart-aches. After this, an effigy
with the thighs of a goat makes its appear
are exhibited;

represented as suffering vehe
mently about the testicles because Jupiter,
as if to expiate the violence which he had
ance,

which

is

:

offered to Ceres, is represented as cutting off

the testicles of a goat, and placing them on
her bosom, as if they were his own. But
after all this,

the

rites

of

Bacchus suc

ceed; the Cista, and the cakes with many
Likewise the
bosses, like those of a shield.
*

I. e.

a representation of them.

232

Appendix.

mysteries of Sabazius, divinations, and the
mimalons or Bacchants a certain sound of
;

the Thesprotian bason the Dodonaean brass
another Corybas, and another Proserpina,
representations of Demons. After these suc
ceed the uncovering of the thighs of Baubo,
;

and a woman s comb

(kteis),

;

for thus, through

a sense of shame, they denominate the sexual
parts of a woman. And thus, with scanda
lous exhibitions, they finish the

From

this curious passage,

initiation."

appears that
the Eleusinian Mysteries comprehended those
of almost all the gods and this account will
it

;

not only throw light on the relation of the
Mysteries given by Clemens Alexandrinus,
but likewise be elucidated by it in several

would willingly unfold to the
reader the mystic meaning of the whole of
this machinery, but this can not be accom
particulars.

I

plished by any one, without at least the pos
session of all the Platonic manuscripts which

This acquisition, which I would
infinitely prize above the wealth of the In
are extant.

dies, will, I

hope, speedily and fortunately

Jupiter disguised as Diana, and Calisto.

\c

Hercules, Deianeira and Nessus.

235

Appendix.

be mine, and then I shall be no less anxious
to communicate this arcane information,

than the

liberal reader will

be to receive

I shall only therefore observe, that the

tual communication of energies

it.

mu

among the

gods was called by ancient theologists tspoe
Idler os
gamos, a sacred marriage ;
yajioe,
concerning which Proclus, in the second
book of his manuscript Commentary on the

Parmenides, admirably remarks as follows:
5s TTJV ttotvawav, TCOTS
t/ot

yajiov

opcoat

(of

sv ~ots oo-

*at xaXooat

8-soXoYOt)

Hpae %at ALO?, ODpctvow %ai FTJC, KpoTsac* ^OTS 5s TCOV T-aTaSssaispcov
,

*

$ot

JJLSV

JroTS

7,7.1

xccXo jat yoL^ov

5s

*ai

Awe
tcov

xps
Aioc xai Kop7]c
t[xsva,
aXXai |j.v siatv af
EtSvj T(OV Bscov
(iiraXtv

/.at

Xsyo jai

ia a jaToc/a y-oivcovcac, aXXai 5s at
ta ^po a^tcov aXXat 5s at ^po^ ta [Jis^

Kat

5st r/]v sx-aarr^

Taystv aiuo TCOV 8s(ov
"

5ta^Xo7,^v.

/.

considered this

e.

tStoir^a ^a^avostv %at (Jisirt

za

t5v)

TTJV totaotYjv

Theologists at one time

communion

divinities co-ordinate

of the gods in

with each other

;

and

236

Appendix.

then they called

it

Heaven and Earth [Uranos and
Saturn and Rhea but at another

and Juno,
of

Gre],

the marriage of Jupiter

of

:

time, they considered

as subsisting be

it

tween subordinate and superior divinities
and then they called it the marriage of Jupi

and Ceres

;

but at another time, on the
contrary, they beheld it as subsisting be

ter

;

tween superior and subordinate divinities;
and then they called it the marriage of Jupi

For in the gods there is one
kind of communion between such as are of
a co-ordinate nature another between the
subordinate and supreme and another again
between the supreme and subordinate. And
ter

and Kore.

;

;

necessary to understand the peculiarity
of each, and to transfer a conjunction of this

it is

kind from the gods to the communion of
ideas with each other." And in Timceus,

book

i.,

he observes

ftsav) sispoic

yvoaO-at,

YJ

Xa^occ

:

y,ca

TO TTJV aor/jv (supple

TOV aoiov $-ov TcXsioat o^Csu-

&v

*

^tw

[jtuaTtxcav

%at TCOV sv aicoppTjtotc Xeyojxevcov tspcov

And that the same goddess is conjoined
with other gods, or the same god with many
goddesses, may be collected from the mystic
"

/. e.

237

Appendix.
discourses,

and those marriages which are

called in the Mysteries Sacred Marriages"

Thus

far the divine Proclus

;

from the

first

which passages the reader may perceive
how adultery and rapes, as represented in the
of

machinery of the Mysteries, are to be under
stood when applied to the gods; and that
they

mean nothing more than

tion of divine energies, either

a

communica

between a su

and subordinate, or subordinate and
I only add that the ap
superior, divinity.

perior

parent indecency of these exhibitions was, as I
have already observed, exclusive of its mystic

meaning, designed as a remedy f or the passions
of the soul: and hence mystic ceremonies

were very properly called

cotea, akea, medicines,

by the obscure and noble Heracleitus.*
*

IAMBLICHUS

:

De

Mysteriis.

Sacrifice of a Pig.

Hercules Drunk.

OKPHIC HYMNS.
I shall utter to

whom

Nevertheless, against

Oh

it is

all

lawful

but

;

the profane.

Musasus, for I will declare what

let the

doors be closed,

But do thou hear,

is true.

.

.

.

He is the One, self -proceeding and from him all things
And in them he himself exerts his activity no mortal
;

proceed,

;

Beholds Him, but he beholds

There

is

all.

one royal body in which

all

things are enwombed,

Fire and Water, Earth, ^JEther, Night and Day,

And Counsel
For

all

[Mette], the first producer,

Zeus, the mighty thunderer,

Zeus

is

is

is first

;

the head, Zeus the middle of

From Zeus were
Zeus

and delightful Love,

these are contained in the great body of Zeus.

all

things produced.

Zeus
all

is last

things

He

is

;

;

male, he

is

female

the depth of the earth, the height of the starry heavens
238

;

;

239

Appendix.
He

is

the breath of

The bottom

all things,

of the sea

the force of untamed

Sun, Moon, and Stars

;

Origin of all King of all
One Power, one God, one Great
;

fire

;

;

;

Ruler.

HYMN OF CLEANTHES.
Greatest of the gods,

God

God with many names,

ever-ruling,

and ruling

all

things

!

Zeus, origin of Nature, governing the universe
All hail

!

For

it is

by law,

right for mortals to address thee

;

For we are thy offspring, and we alone of all
That live and creep on earth have the power of imitative speech.
Therefore will I praise thee, and hymn forever thy power.

Thee the wide heaven, which surrounds the earth, obeys
Following where thou wilt, willingly obeying thy law.

:

Thou

holdest at thy service, in thy mighty hands,
The two-edged, flaming, immortal thunderbolt,
Before whose flash all nature trembles.

Thou rulest in the common
And appears mingled in all

Which filling
Nor without

From

all

nature,

thee,

Oh

is

reason, which goes through

all,

things, great or small,

king of

all

existences.

Deity,* does anything happen in the world,

the divine ethereal pole to the great ocean,

Except only the evil preferred by the senseless wicked.
But thou also art able to bring to order that which is chaotic,
Giving form to what
friendly

So reducing

is

formless,

and making the discordant

;

all

variety to unity, and even

making good out

Thus throughout nature is one great law
Which only the wicked seek to disobey,
Poor

But

fools

!

who long

will not see

for happiness,

nor hear the divine commands.
*

Greek, A

.|JLOV,

Demon.

of evil.

240

Appendix.

[In frenzy blind they stray

By

away from good,

thirst of glory tempted, or sordid avarice,

Or pleasures sensual and joys that

fall.]

But do thou, Oh Zeus, all-bestower, cloud-compeller
Ruler of thunder! guard men from sad error.
Father

!

The laws

dispel the clouds of the soul,
of thy great

and

That we may be honored,

just reign

and

let

!

us follow

!

us honor thee again,

let

Chanting thy great deeds, as is proper for mortals,
For nothing can be better for gods or men
Than to adore with hymns the Universal King.*
*

Rev.

J.

this phrase
"

4]

Freeman
"the

Clarke, whose version is here copied, renders

law common to

xo .vov as: vo uov ev o .x-fl

Law, being used

(

all."

D^vsw,"

for King, as

Love

The Greek

the term

is for

God.

Proserpina Enthroned in Hades.

text reads:

VOJAO?,

A.

W.

nomos, or

Nymphs and

Centaurs.

GLOSSARY.
The instructions given by the
Greek aTcop^ta
hierophant or interpreter in the Eleusinian Mysteries, not to
be disclosed on pain of death. There was said to be a syn

Aporrheta,

them in the petroma or two stone tablets, which,
were bound together in the form of a book.

opsis of
is said,

To

Apostatise

fall or

said to descend

Cathartic

descend, as the spiritual part of the soul

from

Purifying.

its

it

is

divine home to the world of nature.

The term was used by the

Platonists and

others in connection with the ceremonies of purification be
fore initiation, also to the corresponding performance of rites

and duties which renewed the moral
virtues

were the duties and mode of

The phrase

to that end.

is

life.

living,

The

cathartic

which conduced

used but once or twice in this

edition.

Cause

The agent by which things are generated or produced.
The peculiar spiral motion or progress by which the

Circulation

spiritual

nature or

"

intellect"

descended from the divine

region of the universe into the world of sense.
Cogitative

Eelating to the understanding: dianoetic.
A mental conception that can be changed

Conjecture, or Opinion

by argument.

A name

by the Orphic and
daughter Persephon6 or Proserpina. She
was supposed to typify the spiritual nature which was abof Ceres or Demeter, applied

later writers to her

241

242

Glossary.

Core

continued.

ducted by Hades or Pluto into the Underworld, the figure
signifying the apostasy or descent of the soul from the higher
life

to the material body.

After the manner of Proserpina,

Corically

into death

A

Daemon

*.

e.,

as

if

descending

from the supernal world.

designation of a certain class of divinities.

Different

Hesiod regards them as
the souls of the men who lived in the Golden Age, -now act
authors employ the term differently.

ing as guardian or tutelary
"

says

good
is

man is

Socrates, in the Cratylus,

spirits.

a term denoting wisdom, and that every
daemonian, both while living and when dead, and

that daemon

rightly called a

is

daemon."

His own attendant

spirit that

cheeked him whenever he endeavored to do what he might
lamblichus places Daemons in
not, was styled his Daemon,
the second order of spiritual existence.

celebrated Hymn, styles Zeus

The

Demiurgus

creator.

It

in several Grecian States,

8a:|j.ov

was the
and in

Cleanthes, in his

(daimori).

title of

this

the chief-magistrate

work

is

or Jupiter, or the Ruler of the Universe.

applied to Zeus

The

latter Pla-

tonists, and more especially the Gnostics, who regarded matter
as constituting or containing the principle of Evil, sometimes

applied this term to the Evil Potency, who, some of them
affirmed,

Distributed

was the Hebrew God.
Reduced from a whole

to parts

and scattered.

The

was regarded
worldly conditions became

spiritual nature or intellect in its higher estate

as a whole, but in descending to

divided into parts or perhaps characteristics.
Divisible

Made

into parts or attributes, as the mind, intellect, or

spiritual, first a whole,

scent.

of

became thus distinguished

This division was regarded as a

in its de

fall into

a lower plane

work,

especially to

life.

Energise,

Greek

U)
EVp"f

"~

To operate

or

undergo discipline of the heart and character.

243

Glossary.
Energy

Operation, activity.

Eternal

Existing through

all

past time, and

still

continuing.

The correct conception of a thing as it seems, fidelity.
Freedom
The ruling power of one s life a power over what per
Faith

;

tains to one s self in

Union

Friendship

life.

of sentiment; a

The peculiar mania,
Fury
and actuated puophets,
others

;

Greek

Demeter and

Persephone"

also of the Eumenides.

Generated existence, the mode of

fsvssi?

peculiar to this world, but which

life

in doing well.

poets, interpreters of oracles, and

also a title of the goddesses

as the chastisers of the wicked,
Generation,

communion

ardor, or enthusiasm which inspired

is

equivalent to death,

so far as the pure intellect or spiritual nature

is

concerned

;

by which the soul is separated from the higher
existence, and brought into the conditions of life

the process

form of

upon the

earth.

It

was regarded as a punishment, and ac

cording to Mr. Taylor, was prefigured by the abduction of

The

Proserpina.

God

soul is supposed to have pre-existed with

as a pure intellect like him, but not actually identical

at one but not absolutely the same.

Good

That which

A name

Hades

is

desired on

of Pluto

its

own account.

the Underworld, the state or region of

;

departed souls, as understood by classic writers the physical
nature, the corporeal existence, the condition of the soul
;

while in the bodily
Herald, Greek *Y]po

Hierophant

The

life.

The

crier at the Mysteries.

interpreter

who explained

the purport of the

mystic doctrines and dramas to the candidates.
Holiness,

A

Idea

Greek

Attention to the honor due to God.

ooior/js

principle in all

minds underlying our cognitions of the

sensible world.

Imprudent

Without foresight deprived of sagacity.
Hades, the Underworld.
;

Infernal regions
Instruction

A power

to cure the soul.

244

Glossary.

Intellect,

Greek

Cocker,
nature.
truth.

Also rendered pure reason, and by Professor

voo<;

and the rational soul

intuitive reason,
"

The organ

medium

Being.

unseen

takes

the world of real

which reveals the world

light

of

forms.
realities, as the sun reveals the world of sensible

sheds on

that

it

The reason, through

communion with

of ideas, holds

These ideas are the

The Idea of
it

and universal

In an immediate, direct, and intuitive manner,

hold on truth with absolute certainty.
the

the spiritual

;

of self-evident, necessary,

the

good

is

the Sun of the Intelligible

World

;

and gives to the soul
Under this light the eye

objects the light of truth,

knows the power

of

knowing.

of reason apprehends the eternal world of being as truly, yet
more truly, than the eye of sense apprehends the world of

phenomena.

This power the rational soul possesses by virtue
even homogeneous with

of its having a nature kindred, or

the Divinity.
like

him,

it

It
is

was generated by the Divine Father, and
Not that we
eternal.

in a certain sense

are to understand Plato as teaching that the rational soul had

an independent and underived existence it was created or
generated in eternity, and even now, in its incorporate state,
;

is

not amenable to the condition of time and space, but, in a

peculiar sense, dwells in eternity

:

and therefore

is

capable of

and coming into communion with
that is, with God,
absolute beauty, and goodness, and truth
Greek
the Absolute Being."
Philosophy, x.
Christianity and

beholding eternal

realities,

pp. 349, 350.
Intellective
Intelligible

Interpreter

Intuitive

;

perceivable by spiritual insight.

Relating to the higher reason.
The hierophant or sacerdotal teacher who, on the last

book

to

of the Eleusinia, explained the petroma or stone
the candidates, and unfolded the final meaning of the repre

day

sentations and symbols.

tablets of stone,

In the Phoenician language he

was

Hence the petroma, consisting of two
was a pun on the designation, to imply the

called IDS? peter.

245

Glossary.
continued.

Interpreter

has been suggested by the Rev.
Mr. Hyslop, that the Pope derived his claim, as the successor
of Peter, from his succession to the rank and function of

wisdom

to be unfolded.

It

the Hierophant of the Mysteries, and not from the celebrated

who probably was never

Apostle,

in

Rome.

Productive of justice.

Just
justice

The harmony

or perfect proportional action of all the

and comprising equity, veracity, fidelity,
usefulness, benevolence, and purity of mind, or holiness.

powers

of the soul,

A

Judgment
also

peremptory decision covering a disputed matter;
or understanding.

iavo .a, dianoia,

A comprehension by

the mind of fact not to be over
Knowledge
thrown or modified by argument.

Regulating.

Legislative

The

Lesser Mysteries

TsXsia-., teletai,

or ceremonies of purifica

at Agree, prior to full initiation
tion, which were celebrated
Those initiated on this occasion were styled
at Eleusis.
fXDorai,

was

mysta, from

called

JJWY]G:C,

pja>,

vailed from the former

Magic

muo, to vail; and their initiation

muesis, or vailing, as expressive of being
life.

Persian mag, Sanscrit maha, great.

Relating to the order

of the Magi of Persia and Assyria.

Material daemons

Spirits of a nature so gross as to

assume visible bodies like individuals
Matter

The elements

of the world,

still

be able to

living on the Earth.

and especially

of the

human

which the idea of evil is contained and the soul
incarcerated. Greek 6X-rj, Rule or Hyle.
The last act in the
to vail
Mucsis, Greek fxov]0 .c, from jxoto,
body, in

Lesser Mysteries, or -csXsTat, teletai, denoting the separating of
the initiate from the former exotic life.

Sacred dramas performed at stated periods. The
most celebrated were those of Isis, Sabazius, Cybele, and

Mysteries

Eleusis.

246

Glossary.
Relating to the Mysteries: a person initiated in the

Mystic

Greek

Lesser Mysteries
Occult

jmuoTa ..

Arcane; hidden; pertaining to the mystical sense.
Greek opyiM
The peculiar rites of the Bacchic Mysteries.*

Orgies,

A hypothesis or conjecture.

Opinion

Divided, in parts, and not a whole.

Partial

One pursuing

Philologist

One

Philosopher

literature.

skilled in philosophy;

one disciplined in a right

life.

To

Philosophise
of the

The aspiration

Philosophy
11

investigate final causes

to undergo discipline

;

life.

of the soul after

wisdom and

being, and asserted that this was

known

to the soul

intuitive reason (intellect or spiritual instinct)

organ of
stance

which
of

truth,

Plato asserted philosophy to be the science of unconditioned

;

is

all

philosophic insight.

God; and nothing

all actuality, is in

expression of the nature of every object

and natural name, besides
is

Being

(TO ov),

the ideas or thoughts

The WOKD
:

accidental

its

is

the true

for each has its divine

human

appellation.

the recollection of what the soul has seen of

things and their
Plotinus

its

the

exists (or appears outwardly), except

by the force of this indwelling idea.

Philosophy

by
is

The reason perceives sub

the understanding, only phenomena.
the reality in

which

names."

A philosopher who

(J.

FREEMAN CLARKE.)

lived in the Third Century,

and

re

vived the doctrines of Plato.

Prudent

Having

foresight.

Purgation, purification

The introduction into the

Teletce or

Lesser

Mysteries; a separation of the external principles from the soul.

Punishment

The curing of the soul of its errors.
One possessing the prophetic mania,

Prophet, Greek jxaviK;

or

inspiration.

Priest

Greek

jmavu<;

sacerdotal person.

A

prophet or inspired person, Ispso?
*

a

247

Glossary.

A rolling away,

Revolt

the career of the soul in

its

descent from

the pristine divine condition.

The knowledge
and eternal ideas.

Science

Shows
Telete,

of universal, necessary, unchangeable,

The peculiar dramatic representations of the Mysteries.
The finishing or consummation; the Lesser
TsXcTY]

Greek

Mysteries.

A teacher of the

Theologist

literature relating to the gods.
i

Theoretical

Perceptive.

A priest who bore

Torch bearer

a torch at the Mysteries.

The beings who made war against Kronos or Saturn. E.
Pococke identifies them with the Daityas of India, who resisted

Titans

In the Orphic legend, they are described as

the Brahmans.

slaying the child Bacchus-Zagreus.
Titanic

Relating to the nature of Titans.

The passage

Transmigration

being to another.

of the soul

from one condition of

This has not any necessary reference to

any rehabilitation in a corporeal nature, or body of
blood.
Virtue

Virtues

See

A good

I

flesh

and

Corinthians, XV.

mental condition; a stable disposition.

Agencies,

rites, influences.

Cathartic Virtues

Purify

ing rites or influences.

Wisdom

The knowledge

of things as they exist

"

;

the approach

God as the substance of goodness in truth."
The cosmos, the universe, as distinguished from the
World
and human existence upon it.
to

Eleusiuiau Priest and Assistants.

earth

Fortune and the Three Fates.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
DRAWN FROM THE ANTIQUE BY

A

A. L.

DESCRIPTION of the illustrations to

includes the two or three theories of

ancient Greeks, and the beautiful

this

RAWSON.

volume properly

human

myth

of

life held by the
Demeter and Pro

charming of all mythological fancies, and
the Orgies of Bacchus, which together supplied the motives
to the artists of the originals from which these drawings
serpina, the most

were made.

From them we

learn that

it

was believed that the

soul is a

part of, or a spark from, the Great Soul of the Kosmos, the
tral

Sun

of the intellectual universe,

has lived before, and will continue to
prison

"

is

dissolved

the unseen world,

;

which the soul

is

live after this

that the river Styx

and hence we have no

former state of existence

made

5

Cen

and therefore immortal

is

;

"

body
between us and

recollection of

and that the body

is

to suffer for past misdeeds

any

Hades, in

done in the

unseen world.
Poets and philosophers, tragedians and comedians, embel
myth with a thousand fine fancies which were

lished the

248

List of Illustrations.
woven

249

into the ritual of Eleusis, or were presented in the

theaters during the Bacchic festivals.

The pictures include, beside the costumes of priests, priest
esses, and their attendants, and of the fauns and satyrs, many
of the sacred vessels

and implements used in celebrating the
and in the theaters, all of which were

Mysteries, in the orgies,

drawn by the ancient artists from the objects represented,
their work has been carefully followed here.

and

PAGE.
1.

FRONTISPIECE.

SACRIFICE TO CERES.

Denkmaler, sculptur.
The goddess stands near a serpent-guarded altar, on which a
sheaf of grain
approves.
2.

is

aflame.

Worshipers attend, and Jupiter

(See page 17.)

DECORATING A STATUE OF BACCHUS

4

Rom. Campana.
The priest wears a lamb-skin skirt, the thyrsus is a natural
vine with grape clusters, and there are fruit and wine bearers.
3.

BACCHANTES WITH THYRSUS AND FLUTE
Two

4.

4

Rom. Camp.

fragments.

SYMBOLICAL CEREMONY.

Rom. Camp

Torch and thyrsus bearers and faun.

See cut No.

4
40,

and page

208 for reference to pine nut.
5.

BACCHUS AND NYMPHS

5

6.

PLUTO, PROSERPINA, AND FURIES

5

Galerie des Peintres.
The Furies were said to be children of Pluto and Proserpina
other accounts say of Nox and Acheron, and Acheron was a son
of Ceres without a father. (See page 65.)
;

AMPHORA AND SACRED CAKE

7.

PRIESTESS WITH

8.

PRIESTESS WITH MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

6

9.

FAUN KISSING BACCHANTE. Bourbon Mus
FAUN AND BACCHUS. Bourbon Mus

6

10.

.

(j

250

List of Illustrations.
PAGE.

11.

ETRUSCAN VASE.
See drawings on page

12.

7

Millingen
106.

MERCURY PRESENTING A SOUL TO PLUTO
Pict.

13.

MYSTIC RITES.

14.

ELEUSINIAN CEREMONY.

15.

BACCHIC FESTIVAL.

Ant. Sep. Nasonum,

Admiranda,

tav.

Oest.

8
pi. I, 8.

17

8

Denk. Alt. Kunst,

II.,

8

Bartoli, Admiranda, 43
The characters are the king,

8
9

who was
Probably a stage scene.
an archon of Athens; a thyrsus bearer, musician, wine and
fruit bearers, dancers, and Pluto and Proserpina.
A boy re
moves the king
16.

s

sandal.

(See page 35.)

APOLLO AND THE Mus^S.

Florentine Museum
and Mnemosyne
that is, of the god of the present instant, and of memory.
Their office was, in part, to give information to any inquiring
soul, and to preside over the various arts and sciences. They
were called by various names derived from the places where
they were worshiped
Aganippides, Aonides, Castalides,
Heliconiades, Lebetheides, Pierides, and others. Apollo was

The muses were the daughters

of Jupiter

10

;

:

and conductor. The palm
fountains on Helicon, Parnassus, Pindus, and
other sacred mountains, were sacred to the muses.
called Musagetes, as their leader

tree, laurel,

17.

PROMETHEUS FORMS A WOMAN

11

Mm.

Pio. Clem., IV v 34.
Visconti,
Mercury, the messenger of the gods, brings a soul from
Jupiter for the body made by Prometheus, and the three Fates

The Athenians built an altar for the worship of Pro
metheus in the grove of the Academy.
attend.

18.

PROCESSION OF IACCHUS AND PHALLUS

16

Montfaucon.

From Athens to Eleusis, on
The statue is made to play its

the sixth day of the Eleusinia.
part in a mystic ceremony, typi
fying the union of the sexes in generation. Attendant priest
esses bear a basket of dried figs and a phallus, baskets of fruit,

vases of wine, with clematis, and musical and sacrificial instru
ments. None but women and children were permitted to take
part in this ceremony. The wooden emblem of fecundity was
an object of supreme veneration, and the ceremony of placing
and hooding it was assigned to the most highly respected

woman in

Athens, as a

mark

of honor.

Lucian and Plutarch

List of Illustrations.

251
PAGE.

say the phallus bearers at Rome carried images (phalloi) at the
top of long poles, and their bodies were stained with wine lees,
and partly covered with a lamb-skin, their heads crowned with
a wreath of ivy. (See page 14.)
19, 20, 21.

Human
22.

FROM ETRUSCAN VASES
sacrifice

may

Florentine Museum.
be indicated in the lower group.

VENUS AND PROSERPINA

IN

HADES

22

28

Galerie des Peintres.

The myth

Venus gave Proserpina a pomegranate
to eat in Hades, and so made her subject to the law which re
quired her to remain four months of each year with Pluto in
the Underworld, for Venus is the goddess who
presides over
birth and growth in all cases.
Cerberus (see page 65) keeps
guard, and one of the heads holds her garment, signifying that
relates that

his master is entitled to one-third of her time.

23.

RAPE OF PROSERPINA.
(INVISIBILITY)
See note,

24.

Flor.

CARRIED

DOWN TO HADES

Mus

29

p. 152.

PALLAS, VENUS, AND DIANA CONSULTING

30

Gal. des Peint.
Jupiter ordered these divinities to excite desire in the heart of
Proserpina as a means of leading her into the power of the
richest of all monarchs, the one who most abounds in treasures.
(See page 140.)

25.

DIONYSUS AS GOD OF THE SUN

31

Pit. Ant. Ercolano.
Bacchus
Dionysus
symbolizes the sun as god of the sea
sons rides on a panther, pours wine into a drinking-horn held
by a satyr, who also carries a wine skin bottle. The winged genii
of the seasons attend. Winter carries two geese and a cornu
;

copia
Spring holds in one hand the mystical cist, and in the
other the mystic zone Summer bears a sickle and a sheaf
of grain and Autumn has a hare and a horn-of
-plenty full of
;

;

;

fruits.

Fauns, satyrs, boy-fauns, the usual attendants of
Bacchus, play with goats and panthers between the legs of the

larger figures.

26.

HERSE AND MERCURY
Pit. Ant. Ercolano.
fabled love match between the god and a daughter of
Cecrops,
the Egyptian who founded Athens, supplied the ritual for
the festivals Hersephoria, in which young girls of seven

A

to

eleven years, from the most noted families, dressed in

42

252

List of Illustrations.
PAGE.

white, carried the sacred vessels and implements used in the
Mysteries in procession. Cakes of a peculiar form were made
for the occasion.

27.

NARCISSUS SEES His IMAGE IN

WATER

42

P. Ovid. Naso.
an Oceanid, was said to be

The son of Cephissus and Liriope,
very beautiful. He sought to win the favor of the nymph of
the fountain where he saw his face reflected, and failing, he
drowned himself in chagrin. The gods, unwilling to lose so

28.

much

beauty, changed

name.

(See page 150.)

him

into the flower

now known by

his

JUPITER AS DIANA, AND CALISTO.

P. Ovid. Naso..
The supreme deity of the ancients, beside numerous marriages,
was credited with many amours with both divinities and mor
In some of those adventures he succeeded by using a
tals.
disguise, as here in the form of the Queen of the Starry

62

Heavens, when he surprised Calisto (Helice), a daughter of
Lycaon, king of Arcadia, an attendant on Diana. The com
panions of that goddess were pledged to celibacy. Jupiter, in
the form of a swan, surprised Leda, who became mother of the
Dioscuri (twins).
29.

DIANA AND CALISTO.
The

fable says that

Ovid. Naso, Neder
when Diana and her nymphs were bathing

62

the swelling form of Calisto attracted attention. It was re
ported to the goddess, when she punished the maid by chang
ing her into the form of a bear. She would have been torn in
pieces by the hunter s dogs, but Jupiter interposed and trans
lated her to the heavens, where she forms the constellation

The Great Bear.

Juno was jealous of Jupiter, and requested
Thetis to refuse the Great Bear permission to descend at night
beneath the waves of ocean, and she, being also jealous of
Poseidon, complied, and therefore the dipper does not dip,
but revolves close around the pole star.
30.

BACCHANTES AND FAUNS DANCING

A
31.

stage ballet.

.

Rom

HERCULES, BULL, AND PRIESTESS.

.

Campana,

Eom. Camp

.

74

37.

74

Bacchic orgies.

FRUIT AND THYRSUS BEARERS. Sour. Mus
TORCH-BEARER AS APOLLO. Bourbon Mus

84

33.
34.

ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES.

94

32.

Florence Mus.

.

84

List of Illustrations.

253
PAGE.

35.

ETRUSCAN MYSTIC CEREMONY.

36.

ETRUSCAN ALTAR GROUP.
The mystic

Rom. Camp

Flor.

Mus

94
106

with serpent coiled around, the sacred oaks,
baskets, drinking-horns, zones, festoon of branches and flowers,
make very pretty and impressive accessories to two handsome
cist

priestesses.

37.

ETRUSCAN BACCHANTES.

38.

ETRUSCAN CEREMONY.

39.

SATYR, CUPID AND VENUS. Montfaucon ; Sculpture. 110
Some Roman writers affirmed that the Satyr was a real animal,

106
Millingen
These two groups were drawn from a vase (page 7) which is
a very fine work of art. The drapery, decoration, symbols,
accessories, and all the details of implements used in the cele
bration of the Mysteries are very carefully drawn on the vase,
which is well preserved. This vase is a strong proof of the
antiquity of the orgies, for the Etruscans, Tyrrheni, and
Tusci were ancient before the Romans began to build on the
Tiber.

Millingen

106

but science has dissipated that belief, and the monster has
been classed among the artificial attractions of the theater
where it belongs, and where it did a large share of duty in the
Mysteries. They were invented by the poets as an impersona
tion of the life that animates the branches of trees when the

wind sweeps through them, moaning, whistling, or shrieking
in the gale. They were said to be the chief attendants on
Bacchus, and to delight in revel and wine.

SATYR, AND STATUE OF PRIAPUS. Montfaucon 110
Th^many suggestive emblems in this picture form an instruc

40. CUPIDS,

tive group, symbolic of Nature s life-renewing power. The
ancients adored this power under the emblems of the organs

Many passages in the Bible denounce that wor
which is called the grove," and usually was an upright
stone, or wooden pillar, plain or ornamented, as in Rome,
where it beeam,e a statue to the waist, as seen in the engrav
The Palladium at Athens was a Greek form. The
ing.
Druzes of Mount Lebanon in Syria now dispense with em
blems of wood and stone, and use the natural objects in their
mystic rites and ceremonies.
of generation.

"

ship,

41.

APOLLO AND DAPHNE,

Galerie des Peint

sun shines on the dew-drops, and warming them as
they hang on the leaves of the laurel tree, they disappear,

The

rising

118

254

List of Illustrations.
PAGE.

leaving the tree and it is said by the poet that Apollo loves and
seeks Daphne, striving to embrace her, when she flies and is
;

transformed into a laurel tree at the instant she

is

embraced by

the sun-god.
42.

DIANA AND ENDYMION.

Bourbon

Mus

118

Diana as the queen of the night loves Endymion, the
setting
sun. The lovers ever strive to meet, but inexorable fate as ever
prevents them from enjoying each other s society. The fair
huntress sometimes is permitted, as when she is the new moon,
or in the first quarter, to approach near the
place where her
beloved one lingers near the Hesperian gardens, and to follow
him even to the Pillars of Hercules, but never to embrace him.

The new moon, as soon as visible, sets near but not with the sun.
Endymion reluctantly sinks behind the western horizon, and
would linger until the loved one can be folded in his
arms,
but his duty calls and he must turn his
steps toward the
Elysian Fields to cheer the noble and good souls who await
his presence, ever cheerful and benign.
Diana follows closely
after and is welcomed by the brave and beautiful inhabitants
of the Peaceful Islands, but while
receiving their homage her
lover hastens on toward the eastern
gates, where the golden
fleece makes the morning
sky resplendent.

43.

CERES AND THE CAR OF TRIPTOLEMUS

127

P. Ovid. Naso, Neder.
Triptolemus (the word means three plowings) was the founder
of the Eleusinian Mysteries, and was presented
by Ceres with
her car drawn by winged dragons, in which he distributed seed
grain

44.

all

over the world.

PLUTO MARRIES PROSERPINA

127
P. Ovid. Naso,

Necler.

Jupiter is said to have consented to request of Pluto that Proser
pina might revisit her mother s dwelling, and the picture repre
sents him as very earnest in his appeal to his brother. Since
then the seed of grain has remained in the ground no longer
than four months the other eight it is above, in the regions of
light. In the engraving a curtain is held up
bronze
;

by

figures.

This seems conclusive that it was a representation of a dra
matic scene. (See pp. 159, 186.)
45.

PROSERPINA, ACCORDING TO THE GREEKS.

46.

BACCHUS AFTER THE VISIT TO

INDIA.

47.

A

Heck.

ROMAN FIGURE OF

CERES.

.

Heck ... 138

Heck

138
.

138

255

List of Illustrations.

PAGE.
48.

DEMETER, FROM ETRUSCAN VASE.

49.

VENUS,

AND

PALLAS,

DIANA

Heck

THE

INSPECTING

NEEDLEWORK OF PROSERPINA.
50.

138

Galerie des feint

.

PROSERPINA EXPOSED TO PLUTO

142
152

Ovid. Naso, Neder.

There may have been a mild sarcasm in this artist s mind when
he drew the maid as dallying with Cupid, and the richest mon
arch in all the earth in the distance, hastening toward her. He
succeeded, as

51.

is

shown

in the next engraving.

PLUTO CARRYING OFF PROSERPINA

152

P. Ovid. Naso, Neder.
Proserpina must go down

Eternal change is the universal law.
Underworld that she may rise again into light and life.
The seed must be planted under or into the soil that it may

into the

have a new birth and growth.
52.

PROSERPINA IN PLUTO
As

a personation she

fruits

and

S

COURT.

was the

"

156

Montfaucon

Apparent Brilliance

"

of

all

flowers.

53.

CERES IN HADES.

54.

BACCHUS, FAUNS, AND WINE JARS.

55.

TRAGIC ACTOR.

56.

A

162

Montfaucon
Montfaucon

....

Bourbon Museum

168
168

168
GROUP OF DEITIES. Heck
Pan and Dionysus, Hygeia, Hermes, Dionysus and Faunus,
and

Silenus.

57.

NIGHT WITH HER STARRY CANOPY.

58.

THE THREE GRACES.

59.

CUPID ASLEEP IN THE ARMS OF VENUS

168

Heck

.168

Heck

174

Galerie des Peint.
60.

PRIZE DANCE BETWEEN A SATYR AND A GOAT

174

Antichi.
61.

BAUBO AND CERES AT ELEUSIS.
See page

232.

Galerie des Peint. 174

256

List of Illustrations.
PAGE.

62.

PSYCHE ASLEEP IN HADES
186
From the ruins of the Bath of Titus, Rome.
See page

63.

45.

NYMPHS OF THE FOUR RIVERS

IN

HADES

187

Tomb of the Nasons.
It was easy for poets and inythographers, when they had
once started the idea of a gloomy land watered with the rivers
of woe, to place Styx, the stream which makes men shudder, as
the boundary which separates it from the world of living men,
and to lead through it the channels of Lethe, in which all
things are forgotten, of Kokytos, which echoes only with
shrieks of pain, and of Pyryphlegethon, with its waves of fire."
Acheron, in the early myths, was the only river of Hades.
"

64.

ETRUSCAN VASE GROUP.

65.

DANCERS, ETRUSCANS.

66.

GREEK CONVIVIAL SCENE.

67.

FAUN AND BACCHANTE.

68.

THYRSUS-BEARER.

69.

BACCHANTE AND FAUN.

198

Millingen

Millin,

198

~LpL27

Millin t I pi. 38

Bour.

198

Mus

206

Bourbon Museum

206

Mus

206

Bour.

These three very graceful pictures were drawn from paintings
on walls in Herculaneum.
70.

KING, TORCH, FRUIT, AND THYRSUS BEARER

71.

HERCULES RECLINING.

212
Zoega, Bassirilievi, 70
an actual ceremony in which many actors took parts
with an altar, flames, a torch, tripod, the kerux (crier), bac
chantes, fauns, and other attendants on the celebration of the
Mysteries, including the role of an angel with wings.
Here

72.

212

is

;

MARRIAGE (OR ADULTERY) OF MARS AND VENUS
Montfaueon.
See pages 231-237. If this is from a scene as played at the
Bacchic theaters, those dramas must have been very popular,
justly so. To those theaters, which were supported by the
government in Athens and in many other cities throughout
Greece, we owe the immortal works of ^Eschylus and Soph

and

ocles.

220

257

List of Illustrations.

PAGE.
73.

Written music was
writing as
hand.
74.

228

MUSICAL CONFERENCE (EPITHALAMIUM)

if

S. Bartoli, Admiranda, pi. 62.
evidently used, for one of the company is

correcting the score, and writing with the left

VENUS RISING FROM THE

SEA. Ovid. Naso, Verburg. 229
This goddess was called Venus Anadyomene, for the poets said
the morning sunlight on the foam of
she rose from the sea
the sea on the shore of the island Cythera, or Cyprus, or
wherever the poet may choose as the favored place for the
manifestation of the generative power of nature, and wherever
The loves bear aloft her magic
flowers show her footprints.
of winning back
girdle, which Juno borrowed as a means

The rose and the myrtle were sacred to
s affection.
Her worship was the motive for building temples in Cy

Jupiter
her.

thera and in Cyprus at Amathus, Idalium, Golgoi, and in many
other places. (See engravings 22, 39, and 49, and page 230. )

75.

JUPITER DISGUISED AS DIANA, AND CALISTO

.

.

.234

Ovid. Naso, Neder.

The gods were said to have the power, and
suming the form of any other of their train, or

to practice as

of

any animal.

In these disguises they are supposed to play tricks on each
other as here. Diana is the queen of the night sky, Calisto is
one of her attendants, and many white clouds float over the
blue ether (Jupiter), and are chased by the winds (as dogs).
76.

HERCULES, DEIANEIRA, AND NESSUS

.

.

Ovid. Naso, Neder.
of the day s journey he is aged and
dark clouds obscure his face and obstruct his way, but
and Deianeira, the
still Hercules loves beautiful things,
fair daughter of the king of ^Stolia, retires with him into exile.
At a ford the hero entrusts his bride to Nessus the Centaur, to

The sun nears the end
weary

;

;

made love to the lady,
carry across the river. The ferryman
and Hercules resented the indiscretion, and wounded him by
an arrow. Dying Nessus tells Deianeira to keep his blood as a
love charm in case her husband should love another woman.
Hercules did love another, named lole, and Deianeira dipped
the crimson and scarlet
clouds of a splendid sunset are made glorious by the blood of
scarlet
Nessus, and Hercules is burnt on the funeral pyre of
and crimson sunset clouds.
his shirt in the blood of Nessus

234

258

List of Illustrations.
PAGE.

Herculaneum, IV.,

77.

THE

78.

HERCULES DRUNK.

79.

PROSERPINA ENTHRONED IN HADES.
The

SACRIFICE.

principle of

13

237

Zoega^ Bassirilievi, tav. 67

ArcMol.

238
Zeit.

240

growth rules the Underworld.

Mus

80.

BACCHANTE AND CENTAUR.

81.

BACCHANTE AND CENTAURESS.

82.

ELEUSINIAN PRIEST AND ASSISTANTS

247

83.

THE FATES.

248

84.

SUPPER SCENE

85.

BACCHIC BULL.

Bourbon

Bourbon

......... 241

Mus

241

Zoega, Bassiritievi, tav. 46

258
Antichi.

.

.

Supper Scene.

On

cover.

-i

-:

JUNE

1963

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

LIBRARY

a>

a

DO NOT
REMOVE
THE

8
O

8
to

1

1
9
d

CARD
FROM
THIS

POCKET

EH

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